Sexual harassment is an issue that no one should have to tolerate, especially in the workplace. Whether subtle or blatant, you need to recognize the signs so you can protect yourself and your colleagues.
Here is how you can spot indications of sexual harassment in your California workplace.
Unwanted comments and attention
If someone comments on your appearance, makes sexual innuendos or gives you unwanted compliments in a suggestive manner, these can all be forms of sexual harassment. Trust your instincts. If a comment or gesture makes you feel uncomfortable or threatened, acknowledge those feelings and take them seriously.
Physical contact without consent
Any form of unwelcome touch, be it a pat on the back, a lingering hug or even an accidental brush against your body, can be harassment if it is sexual in nature and makes you feel uneasy. No one should touch you without your consent, especially in a professional environment.
Sharing inappropriate content
Sharing inappropriate content, including sexual jokes or forwarding explicit emails with photos, videos or messages, is unprofessional and can create a hostile work environment.
Using power dynamics to intimidate
If your boss or a senior colleague makes advances or inappropriate comments and implies that your job depends on how you respond to those advances, that is a form of sexual harassment. Remember, promotions, raises or job opportunities should not require personal favors or relationships.
Persistent requests for personal interactions
If a coworker consistently asks you out, sends you personal messages outside of work hours or tries to engage in personal conversations despite your clear disinterest, it may be a sign of harassment.
Steps you can take
If you believe you are experiencing sexual harassment at work:
- Document every incident. Keep track of dates, times, locations and details.
- Speak up. Address the harasser directly, if you feel safe doing so and let them know that their behavior is unwelcome.
- Report the behavior. Inform your supervisor, HR department or other designated individuals within the company.
Everyone deserves a safe and respectful workplace. By recognizing the signs of sexual harassment, you can take steps to prevent it and help create a better environment.