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SEX. It is everywhere we look. Billboards, magazines, television, and the internet. Many forms of advertising incorporate sex as a method to help increase their sales. Simply put, it is all around us. Sex sells. In fact, it is so hard to escape, many believe we have become desensitized to the privacy of sexuality, and with it, the right to a work environment free of sexual harassment.
What is Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment comes in many forms, and while physical harassment is the most common form of sexual harassment, it can also be verbal, and even subtle, such as sexually suggestive innuendos, images, cartoons, or animations at the workplace. Harassment can also occur through digital communications via your phone or computer.
Types of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment takes on many forms. It can be physical, verbal, active or passive, and it can even come through the internet by social media, email, or chat. A common term that is heard in the workplace is "quid pro quo". With all of these types of sexual harassment, it creates what is known as a Hostile Work Environment.
Sexual Harassment Evolution
When people hear of sexual harassment, they often think of a physical act, such as physically grabbing someone or asking someone for a sexual favor. However, in today's age of smartphones and technology, sexual harassment is now occurring on social media, email, and through texting. As we mentioned in a previous learning objective, since this type of harassment is not as public, it often goes unnoticed, Yet, it is extremely common in many workplaces today. There are many forms of interaction that can occur with internet devices.
How to Report Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is against the law, and you have the right to protect yourself and feel safe within your workplace. If you feel like you've been harassed in any form, you have every right to take action and report the event that occurred. Even if it's a first time offense, you have every right to tell your employer and inform of the incident. If it is your employer who did the harassing, you can file a complaint with the EEOC also known as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Sexual harassment is and will always be illegal and punishable by law.
It is the employer’s responsibility to create and maintain a safe workplace. Sexual Harassment should be addressed in all training programs, and it should be made known that it will not be tolerated. This includes additional information so that employees know they will NOT be punished for reporting incidents or any unwanted communication. Employers need to have a procedure in place for reporting harassment and provide information to their employees on how to file a complaint or a claim. There is no excuse not to have it.