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How To Recognize And Report Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Workplace harassment and discrimination are not only a big or little company problem. Workplace harassment affects all sorts of workplaces in the United States, from workplace bullying to outright prejudice. It’s critical to understand workplace harassment so you can avoid hostile work environments in your business. It may also imply holding annual training sessions to define terms like racial harassment and workplace bullying. You can take the required measures to provide a secure working environment for all of your staff by creating a workplace harassment policy.

Verbal and psychological harassment are the most common types of abuse. Physical and sexual violence, for example, are more serious forms of harassment that exist. All kinds of workplace aggression are illegal, as they not only affect an employee’s productivity, comfort, and safety at work but also put the business in legal peril.

Although many employees believe they would recognize workplace harassment and inform those in authority about it, much of it goes unreported.

Do you believe you have been sexually harassed at work? If this is the case, you may be eligible for legal action. Call Texas Personal Injury Lawyers for a free case evaluation .

What Are The Characteristics Of Workplace Harassment?

Harassment in the workplace may or may not leave physical traces. When discussing your situation, you might be better equipped to do so if you understand what is going on with you. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), misconduct may include crude remarks, epithets, name-calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

Harassment can take place in a variety of situations, as follows:

  • The harasser could be the victim’s supervisor, a colleague or a non-employee, depending on the circumstances.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but it may be anyone who is affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful stalking may take place even if no economic damage or job loss is caused to the victim.

To begin with, you must recognize when you are being harassed at your job. Harassment in the workplace is a serious problem that has a lot of grey areas. It is your duty to report any criminal behavior or workplace harassment you see. If you’re concerned about losing your job as a result of your complaint, remember that you’re covered by anti-discrimination legislation.

You are protected not only against the individual(s) harassing you but also from your employer failing to protect you. You cannot lose your job if you report a colleague’s harassment on your own.

Types Of Workplace Harassment

  • Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment is very common and may be a never-ending battle that puts your health and career at risk. It includes derogatory remarks, obscene hand gestures, and unreasonable criticisms. Insults, epithets, unsolicited “jokes,” and hurtful comments are all examples of it.

Verbal harassment, like other forms of misconduct, can be difficult to identify. Since it is a nonphysical type of aggression, it may be a gray area.

Often, vociferous screaming, swearing, or making stupid remarks or jokes about a co-worker is seen as a personality conflict rather than sexual harassment, even though such conduct can have a negative psychological impact on the victim and result in outcomes such as depression, high blood pressure, and anxiety.

  • Psychological Harassment

Psychological harassment, also known as psychological bullying, is similar to verbal bullying but more covert and includes excluding techniques such as withholding information. These behaviors are meant to emotionally break down the target, chip away at their confidence, and undermine them.

Taking credit for someone else’s success, making impossible demands, imposing tight deadlines on a single employee, demanding that an employee perform demeaning tasks that are outside of their job scope, or persistently opposing everything someone says may not appear to be harassment at first glance. This can be deliberate psychological harassment in disguise.

  • Digital Harassment (cyberbullying)

Although cyberbullying is conducted over the internet, it can have a similar impact as in-person bullying. It’s the newest type of torment and may be found on a variety of platforms.

Posting threats or abusive remarks on social media, establishing a phoney identity to bully someone online, creating a website about the victim to mock and humiliate them, and making false claims online are all examples of cyberbullying.

The growing popularity of social media in the workplace has made it easy for anybody to cyberbully others, using terms like “free speech” or being “woke,” under the pretext of defending them.

People are generally braver behind a computer screen, which includes being nastier. The good news about cyberbullying is that it’s documentable and provable. This makes reporting and demonstrating it that much easier.

Take screen captures, save emails on your personal computer, and keep a file of everything that makes you anxious.

  • Physical Harassment

Physical Harassment in the workplace comes in a variety of forms. These might range from simple unwanted touches, such as stroking an employee’s clothing, hair, face, or skin, to more severe actions including physical assault and threats of violence.

Physical harassment may be difficult to recognize if no actual injuries are sustained, since there is much variation in degrees of physical harassment.

Employees should call 911 as soon as possible and avoid getting involved in a conflict.

  • Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a real problem, and it happens more often than you might believe. According to a ZipRecruiter poll of 1,000 American adults, 40% of female respondents and 14% of male respondents have been sexually harassed at work. It’s a widespread crime that men are not immune from. Sexual harassment can affect anybody, regardless of their gender.

Sexual harassment refers to unsolicited sexual advances, such as physical contact, sexual jokes, pornography sharing, sending sexual messages, and requiring sexual favors in return for a promotion or job security. Although determining what constitutes sexual harassment may seem simple, it is not always so clear.

At its worst, workplace sexual harassment is typically mild. The vast majority of the time, it is hidden in low-key conversation, non-threatening comments accompanied by sexual movements or tones, or unassuming but apparently negative statements about people of a certain gender (usually women).

This creates a grey area in which offenders may go unpunished. Many victims are hesitant to speak out because they are afraid of being shamed. Many individuals are terrified of losing their jobs or other repercussions if they report a workplace sexual harassment. However, you should file a complaint if someone is fostering a hostile work environment and making you feel uncomfortable.

How To Report Harassment At Work

HR departments are created to assist workers, particularly those in vulnerable or dangerous situations. A lack of physical evidence should not prevent a victim from filing a complaint. In reality, most grievances and complaints lack tangible proof.

It’s critical to report workplace harassment, because there may be additional victims who have reported the same offender for similar actions, and the employer could be waiting for more evidence to take action and a supervisor will need to respond to the complaint. 

Although many organizations have established procedures for reporting workplace harassment, others may not. Employees should follow the steps below if they experience any of these nonviolent issues at work:

  1. If you’re being harassed, take notice of the situation and try to resolve it in a calm way. Request that the individual stop engaging in this behavior towards you, especially if it’s taking place in a secluded area. If the abuse is physical, do not get within striking distance of your harasser.
  2. Unless your manager is the perpetrator, escalate the problem to your immediate supervisor. If you try resolving the situation with the harasser but fail, bring it up with HR. Provide evidence such as screenshots, texts, messages, and eyewitness testimony if feasible.
  3. If you believe your managers, HR, or corporate management didn’t properly address your issue, contact the EEOC to investigate the situation fairly. If you live in a larger city or metro area with its own workplace laws and agencies, such as Texas, you may file a claim through that municipality.

When dealing with workplace harassment, it’s vital that you avoid a few specific actions. Most importantly, stay away from retaliation, since retaliating can only make the problem worse.

Also, be careful not to discuss things with your coworkers. Your coworkers have little ability to change anything and will most likely dilute your version of events if called to testify.

If you’re being harassed, remember to talk about it. Staying silent will not make the offender’s behavior go away. All harassment situations must be reported, and all complaints must be thoroughly investigated.

Workplace Harassment Laws

While company owners are responsible for beginning effective policy, many broader federal and state laws defend employees from workplace harassment. The obligation of all companies to give equal employment opportunities to all Americans is a good example of a well-known federal government regulation that protects workers from workplace harassment. This is often summarized at the end of job advertisements and applications, as well as in an “equal opportunity employer” section.

These are only a few of the many workplace harassment laws that may apply to you:

  • The Equal Pay Act Of 1963:

     It is now prohibited for employers to provide different earnings to men and women performing the same amount of work in the identical workplace if they do it equally well.

  • Title VII Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964:

     It is now a federal crime to discriminate against someone based on race, creed, color, religion, nationality or sex. It also protects those who report discrimination in or outside of the workplace.

  • The Age Discrimination In Employment Act Of 1967:

     Individuals who are over 40 years old are protected from age discrimination in the workplace under this legislation.

While these are just a few examples of anti-discrimination legislation, well-structured and uniformly implemented company rules result in a safe working environment. Regardless of your size or job, do all you can to encourage and protect staff members and coworkers.

Contact Texas Personal Injury Lawyers To Know More How To Recognize And Report Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Employees should not be afraid to report harassing behavior, because employers are prohibited from retaliating against any individual who reports harassment to the EEOC. If the EEOC upholds the validity of a harassment case, the person subjected to illegal actions may be eligible for back pay, reinstatement, advancement, and compensatory or punitive damages for specific behaviors.

Texas Personal Injury Lawyers have many years of expertise in investigating, preparing, and litigating employment sexual harassment claims. We give a sympathetic representation to victims of workplace harassment and aim to put an end to the abuse and obtain complete compensation for our clients. If you want to know whether you’re eligible for legal action as a result of sexual harassment, please call us for a free case evaluation.

Call us at (888) 997-2148 now to schedule a free consultation today.

We take cases on a contingency fee basis and there are no costs unless we win, and the consultation is completely FREE. Contact us to learn what Texas Personal Injury Lawyers can accomplish for you.