Experiencing sexual harassment at work may leave you feeling uncomfortable and unable to focus on your responsibilities. Ongoing trouble could reach a point where you feel threatened or unwilling to go to work altogether.
Addressing the problem promptly and documenting your experience can help you circumvent worsening issues.
Sexual harassment can take on many forms including feeling pressured to discuss uncomfortable topics or receiving requests to act inappropriately. If these requests come with an ultimatum that could potentially jeopardize your job or slander your name your experience qualifies as sexual harassment.
Another form of harassment is when body language exceeds professionalism and common sense. For example, if one of your cohorts repeatedly stands too close to you, touches you inappropriately or behaves in a manner that causes you to feel uncomfortable.
Sexual harassment can also happen in verbal ways. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can include offensive remarks about your gender or sexual orientation. Harassment can also include repetitive commentary about your romantic interests or regular remarks about your appearance.
If you experience sexual harassment at work, you should report your experiences to the human resources department. Your employer may have a hotline that you can use if you feel fearful of retaliation for reporting unprofessional behavior. After filing a report, you should receive follow-up communication regarding any action your employer plans to take against the perpetrator. If your experience has hurt your career or created challenging circumstances at work, you may choose to take legal action. Documentation of your experiences may provide instrumental support if you choose to file a lawsuit.