Sexual harassment can happen anywhere it is usually associated with the workplace however, it can happen in colleges, high schools, or any place both men and woman gather. Sexual harassment claims are not just limited to women, as 10% of claims stem from men.
Not only is sexual harassment an unacceptable form of behavior, but it is also illegal under Federal and state laws. Often times, people will mistake an inappropriate comment or joke as sexual harassment, and while the person may be extremely offended by it, it doesn't mean that they were sexually harassed. However, the comment or joke should not be completely dismissed. The victim should make their feelings about it known to the person who said it. The person may not have even realized that the comment or joke would offend anyone; it was just simply a case of foot in mouth syndrome.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment is about power. Sexual harassment has nothing to do having a little bit of fun, or making a distasteful joke that someone finds offensive. A better definition of sexual harassment is any type of unwanted behavior that is sexual in nature. In the workplace it is not just the bosses who can be guilty of this type of behavior. Anyone can act inappropriately in the workplace - your colleges, people who work under you, people who work in the maintenance department or the cafeteria there are no guidelines when it comes to sexual harassment about who is allowed to harass who.
Often times, in the work place colleges will try to "pull one over on someone or participate in what is called playground tactics. Most of the time it is all clean fun and no one becomes offended however, sometimes a person will go too far or someone will become offended and see the action or behavior as sexual harassment. That's why it is important to be careful what you say and do because even if you think you know someone or how they will react to your playful antics you might be in for a surprise. If you do not know the person it is best to keep what you feel is a good sense of humor to yourself or you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. Even what you perceive as an innocent comment about how a woman's legs must be cold because she is wearing a skirt could be taken in the wrong way by some women.
Sexual harassment is a serious act that should not be taken lightly. If you find yourself in a sexual harassment situation you don't have to suffer - take action and get legal advice.
Sexual harassment is commonly geared towards women; however, some sexual harassment cases have been made against women too. Statistics show that more women than men are victims of sexual harassment. At some point in a woman's life there is a greater than 50% chance she will be the victim of sexual harassment. Nearly 40% of female victims need the help of a lawyer to put an end to the harassment.
There is no specific type of woman who is at a higher risk for sexual harassment - women of all ages, races, sizes and shapes when it comes to sexual harassment no woman is exempt. For woman the sexual harassment is usually brought about by the fact that many women work in predominately male work environment.
Sexual harassment is divided into 3 categories:
Types of Verbal Sexual Harassment
- Unwanted comments about their body, clothes, or appearance
- Indecent remarks of a sexual nature
- Questions or inquiries about a person's sex life
- Asking for sexual favors
- Sexual requests or demands made by people of the opposite (or same) sex
- Promises of employment promotions, higher wage, days off for any sexual favors
- Threats of demotion or termination if sexual favors are denied
Types of Non-Verbal Sexual Harassment
- Exhibiting materials that are considered sexually explicit for example calendars, magazines, or posters
- Gawking at a person's body (or a certain part of it)
Types of Physical Sexual Harassment:
- Touching, caressing hugging, kissing, pinching, grabbing etc.
- Sexual Assault
How to Deal with Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment does not commonly happen instantly, but it tends to increase over a period of time. What one person sees as harmless fun may be totally different in the victim's eyes. Let's look at a few ways that may help deal with the harassment.
- Talk to the person who is doing the harassing and make your feeling about their behavior clear. Look them straight in the eye and let them know their behavior is unacceptable and you are not interested in them in a sexual way.
- Let the person know that you want the inappropriate behavior or actions to stop immediately.
- Do not allow the person to try and make light of the situation or dismiss your feelings about the situation.
- Do not apologize.
- Say what you need to say and then leave; do not allow them time to engage you in a conversation about it.
If you are uncomfortable about speaking to them than simply write a letter and tell them everything you would say in person about their behavior and that it makes you uncomfortable and that it needs to stop immediately. Inform them that if the behavior or action does not stop you will take further action. Always keep a copy of the letter.
Write down the dates, times, places and events that took place. In the event that legal action is necessary then you will be able to prove your claims with precise details. If the harassment continues and your employer is not willing to take action, then consult an experienced sexual harassment lawyer from our firm for help with your sexual harassment problems.
The Lassen Law Firm only deducts a low 29% contingency fee, not the standard 40-45% like other firms. We serve ALL of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We can sign you up over the phone and start working on your case today.
The Lassen Law Firm
1515 Market St #1510
Philadelphia, PA 19102