No employee should ever be subjected to sexual harassment at work. But even though sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal, it is quite common.
There are many misconceptions and myths about sexual harassment that may prevent an employee from taking action to stop the behavior. Let’s look at a few of them:
1: Sexual harassment happens only to females
Workplace sexual harassment affects workers of all genders: male, female and transgender.
2: Sexual harassment is always initiated by males
Most people think of sexual harassment as something a man does to a woman. But the person initiating sexual harassment can be male or female, and as noted above, the victim can be any gender.
3: Only the victim can report sexual harassment
Harassing behavior does not have to be directed at the individual who reports it. If the harassment creates a hostile work environment, an employee may have legal options. A hostile work environment is generally defined as offensive actions or behavior that makes it difficult or impossible for a worker to perform his or her job.
4: A one-time act is not considered sexual harassment
Sexual harassment generally involves behavior that is repeated or ongoing. However, a one-time action may be considered sexual harassment if it was especially offensive or heinous.
5: It is best to ignore sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is a horrible thing to go through, and when it happens, victims may not know how to respond. While some people think sexual harassment will go away if it is ignored, this is not always the case.
Remember: Sexual harassment at work is illegal, and victims are protected by the law.
It is advisable to report sexual harassment that occurs at work. If your employer fails to act to stop the harassment, speak to an employment law attorney.