Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Employment law recognizes multiple types of sexual harassment in the workplace. For example, you might contact a sexual harassment attorney if another individual requests sexual favors or makes unwanted sexual advances. However, a wide range of other verbal and physical behaviors have been identified as forms of sexual harassment, such as crude jokes of a sexual nature. If you think you may have been the victim of sexual harassment, it’s important to get in touch with a sexual harassment lawyer as soon as possible.

Watch this video to hear more about this common workplace problem. This expert urges victims to be proactive by keeping a written record of all incidences of sexual harassment. This record will be helpful when your sexual harassment attorney files a claim on your behalf.

The Two Main Categories of Workplace Sexual Harassment

There are many possible manifestations of workplace sexual harassment. They typically fall into two main categories. The first is quid pro quo sexual harassment and the second is the creation of a hostile environment. If you’re unsure of whether your rights were violated, you can contact a sexual harassment attorney. Let your labor attorney know about all incidences of possible sexual harassment, and ask him or her any questions you may have about employment law.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment involves telling an employee that he or she must provide a sexual favor in exchange for job retention, promotion, or achieving some other benefit. Since quid pro quo sexual harassment often lacks witnesses and can be challenging to prove in court, it’s essential to work with a sexual harassment attorney who will thoroughly investigate the claim. The other type of sexual harassment involves a workplace that is characterized by the pervasiveness of behaviors that are sexual in nature, such as telling dirty jokes, making crude remarks, leering, or engaging in other undesirable behaviors.

The Effects of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

A hostile working environment characterized by pervasive sexual harassment can make employees uncomfortable, to say the least. However, the serious effects of sexual harassment are often understated. These behaviors can cause significant health problems, financial difficulties, and even global repercussions. If you’ve encountered sexual harassment in the workplace, you have the right to consult a sexual harassment attorney. Your labor law attorney can explain your legal rights to you and discuss your options for obtaining damages.

1. Emotional Well-Being
Sexual harassment can jeopardize the victim’s emotional and mental health. It can lead to the loss of self-esteem and it may even compromise personal relationships. Sexual harassment in the workplace can cause significant stress and anxiety. An employment harassment lawyer is also likely to work with clients who have suffered from long-term clinical depression as a result of sexual harassment.

2. Physical Health
Physical health and emotional health are closely linked. When victims of sexual harassment experience mental and emotional problems, it often leads to physical health issues, such as loss of appetite, headaches, weight fluctuations, and sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbances can, in turn, lead to other serious health problems, such as hormonal imbalance, an increased risk of high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.

3. Financial Challenges
In addition to causing health problems, sexual harassment frequently leads to financial challenges. It’s important to tell your sexual harassment attorney in San Jose about any financial consequences of sexual harassment, such as lost wages and unpaid leave. Some victims of sexual harassment may even face broader career repercussions, such as the loss of job references. They may decide to leave their current position or employer to avoid a hostile work environment.

4. Global Consequences
Sexual harassment has a direct effect on employers and the global economy. Each year, millions are lost due to absenteeism, low productivity, employee turnover, low morale, and legal costs stemming from sexual harassment. The economy also suffers due to premature retirement and higher insurance costs.

Signs You’re Being Sexually Harassed at Work

Employees often feel pressured to look the other way when sexual harassment occurs. If they voice their concerns, they may be told that the offensive behavior was nothing to get upset about. However, sexual harassment should never be ignored or condoned. If you feel that you’re being sexually harassed in the workplace, you can turn to a sexual harassment lawyer for help. Your labor law attorney may recommend that you keep detailed records of all instances of offensive behavior to support your claim.

1. You’ve Been Asked for a Sexual Favor at Work
Sometimes, sexual harassment is overt. You may have been asked for a sexual favor by a supervisor in exchange for a raise or a promotion. Or, you may have been told that unless you agreed to the sexual favor, you would be fired or demoted. Employment law recognizes this type of discrimination as quid pro quo sexual harassment. Although it may seem that it would be difficult to prove what someone else has told you, you’ll find that a sexual harassment attorney can bring powerful investigative tools to the case.

2. You’ve Seen Offensive Images or Heard Offensive Remarks
Other types of sexual harassment are less obvious than quid pro quo sexual harassment, such as being subjected to offensive images or language. For example, a co-worker or supervisor may have sent an email containing inappropriate images or language. A co-worker might hang an offensive calendar in a workspace. These are all signs that you’ve been sexually harassed at work – even if the images were not sent directly to you. Additionally, bear in mind that some types of language may constitute sexual harassment even if it is not sexual in nature. For example, a supervisor might call the female employees by non-sexual, yet offensive names, while refraining from doing so to the male employees. This is also a form of sexual harassment.

3. A Hostile Working Environment Makes You Uncomfortable
If you feel uncomfortable going to work, you may be the victim of sexual harassment. Employment law recognizes that not all acts of sexual harassment may be directed at a particular victim. Instead, your sexual harassment attorney may file a claim on your behalf based on the maintenance of a hostile work environment.

If you’re in San Jose and need an attorney you can depend on to fight your case, contact Advocacy Center for Employment Law.