Are you feeling degraded? Is a co-worker
always putting their hands on you when they come in the office?
Has someone ever grabbed your rear or touched your chest? Maybe
someone asked you to have sex with them in order to get a raise.
Yes, these are considered harassment. Sexual harassment can be
any type of sexual advance or comment that is unwelcome.
If you feel that you have been harassed,
you can take action with a sexual harassment lawsuit. There is
some homework to do first, though.
If this type of sexual harassment is happening in the workplace,
contact your employer. The first thing to do is get this on file
at your place of employment, so there is proof later. If your
boss is the one who is doing the harassing, then go higher up
in the chain of command. Sexual harassment in the workplace violates
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that guarantees a workplace
that is free from sexual discrimination.
According to the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(EEOC), sexual harassment involves, "Unwelcome sexual advances,
requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct
of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct
explicitly or implicitly affects an individual's employment, unreasonably
interferes with an individual's work performance, or creates an
intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment." The
EEOC, in Fiscal Year 2005, received 12,679 charges of sexual harassment
and in 2004 more than $47.9 million in monetary benefits were
recovered not including other monetary benefits gained through
There are two legally recognized types of sexual harassment in
the workplace including quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile
environment sexual harassment. With quid pro quo sexual harassment,
the victim's submission or rejection of the sexual advance may
incur a threat to economic loss. With hostile environment sexual
harassment, the sexual misconduct of the perpetrator creates a
hostile, intimidating or offensive workplace. In order for an
employee to win a sexual harassment lawsuit against an employer,
the employer first must have known or should have known about
the harassment and second, did nothing to correct the situation.
The victims of sexual harassment can be both female and male
as not all of the victims are women. In fact, some victims may
be a son or daughter. This type of harassment can even happen
in school, if a boy or girl makes certain comments to another
or tries unwanted kissing or touching. Teasing the opposite sex
or calling sexual names can also be considered harassment as it
can make life at school very stressful for the victim. No child
need ever feel ashamed or terrified at school, so action to stop
the harassment should be taken on the child's behalf. There are
steps you can take for yourself or your child.
In order to stop the harassment, try writing a letter to the
person explaining that what they are doing and how you feel towards
their conduct (or write to the parents if the harasser is a child
or teen). This doesn't always work and you should keep records
in a journal or online of all of the steps you are taking to resolve
the issue. Always make sure to include in the notes the day, time,
place and what exactly happened. Video tapping sexual harassment
that is recurring is another option that may help to quickly settle
the matter. Have witnesses, who are willing, write down their
names and contact information. Also, have them write down, in
their own words, what happened.
Sexual harassment can happen at work or in the schools. Some
people are confused by the subject and even blame themselves if
it is happening, thinking that perhaps they brought it on. Others
fear their harasser and what that person may do if confronted
(or not confronted). A victim can be the person that the harassment
is happening to or an innocent bystander that is offended by it.
It can even be a coworker who was passed over for a position by
someone who submitted to the demands of the one doing the harassing.
If sexual harassment has happened to you or someone you love,
contact a lawyer who specializes in this area to see what your
legal options are and what additional work may be needed. Victims
who go forward with sexual harassment lawsuits often feel empowered
by taking back their own right to live and work in a harassment-free