Sexual harassment includes, among many other behaviors, unwanted verbal, physical, and visual sexual advances from one person to another. Unfortunately, this is relatively common in the workplace, either between co-workers or between supervisors and subordinates.
Employees who experience a hostile work environment may not know where to go for help. As a result, victims often turn to others in the workplace for advice and a compassionate ear, even if the confidant does not have any direct authority to address the harassment situation. Here are some ways to support a fellow employee who confides to you that another employee is engaging in sexual harassment.
Be a thoughtful listener
It takes a lot of courage for survivors of harassment to talk about their ordeal. Believe what your co-worker tells you, do not make assumptions about the situation, and avoid implying that they did anything to cause the harassment. Ask if there is anything that you can do to help, and let them know about any resources that can assist survivors of sexual harassment.
Let them know their rights
If the victim is comfortable with reporting the incident, encourage them to do so. One way to do this is by reporting the incident to relevant supervisors and human resources personnel at your place of work. In addition, people who work in New York City who experience sexual harassment can contact the NYC Commission on Human Rights.
Being prepared to listen to and assist a survivor of workplace sexual harassment allows you to be a better advocate for employees.