Starting your first job can be nerve-wracking. As fresh graduates, it is natural to feel a bit clueless about how things work in the professional world. Unfortunately, this sense of newness might make you oblivious to the signs of sexual harassment creeping into workplaces.
Different forms of sexual harassment
Here’s a guide on identifying different types of sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Verbal harassment: This form involves offensive comments, sexual innuendos or suggestive jokes. This can happen if your boss or coworkers make inappropriate remarks about your appearance or personal life.
- Physical harassment: This involves unwelcome actions such as unwanted touching, leering or making inappropriate gestures.
- Nonverbal harassment: Nonverbal harassment includes staring, winking or making sexually suggestive facial expressions. Though it may not involve direct communication, it can still create a hostile work environment.
- Quid pro quo harassment: This form occurs when your boss or a person in authority demands sexual favors in exchange for promotions, raises or other employment benefits. This is illegal and should never be tolerated.
Unwanted sexual advances can happen in various forms. But if you can fully grasp the situations where they can possibly occur, you will be informed with the right information to fight against them.
Tackling workplace harassment
Taking a proactive stance against workplace sexual harassment in Florida requires informed action. You may follow these steps:
- Familiarize yourself with Florida’s sexual harassment laws and your company’s policies.
- Maintain comprehensive records of any incidents, diligently noting dates, times, locations and individuals involved, as these records play a vital role in addressing the issue.
- Report the harassment to a trusted supervisor or HR representative.
- Seek support from coworkers, friends or family.
If necessary, escalate the matter by filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you want to pursue legal action, try to seek counsel from an employment attorney.
Remember, you have the right to a safe and respectful work environment. Being a new employee does not warrant anyone to use their power to take advantage of you. By standing up against sexual harassment, you not only protect yourself. You can also help create a more inclusive and respectful workplace for everyone.