Sexual harassment can have lasting repercussions on both individuals and businesses. Employers who tolerate inappropriate behavior may notice an increase in hostility and a reduction in productivity.
Being the victim of sexual harassment could threaten your well-being and jeopardize your career. Understanding what inappropriate behavior looks like can help you advocate for your safety.
Sexual harassment in the workplace
Harassment is a blanket term used to describe several behaviors including the following:
- Unwanted sexually explicit photos or texts
- Inappropriate jokes
- Unwelcome physical contact
- Discussion of sexual fantasies
- Pressure to engage in sexual acts
Feeling the uncertainty that often accompanies harassment can distract you from your job. You might feel unable to focus and have concerns about your safety. Ongoing harassment can even stall your career and your progress.
Sexual assault in the workplace
Sexual assault often involves more serious actions including fondling and rape. Depending on the situation, the person harassing you might make threats if you report anything to human resources. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassers could include your supervisor, a coworker and even customers.
Anytime you experience an uncomfortable situation, make it a point to record what happened. Include dates and times, as well as any witness reports from people who may have heard or seen what happened. You should also document how the circumstance made you feel and how it impacted your ability to work. No one deserves to feel threatened at work. Reporting your situation may put a stop to ongoing harassment and help prevent a hostile work environment.