Sexual harassment often begins in subtle ways. A comment here, a touch there, and before long, it escalates into full-blown extortion, the loss of one’s job, toxic stress and a terrifying feeling of being bullied, taken advantage of or even sexually assaulted. Due to the reality that sexual harassment continues to pervade Florida workplaces, it’s important that all workers — not just female workers — be on alert for the subtle cues that a mildly uncomfortable situation could turn into a career- and confidence-destroying calamity.
Watch for subtle comments and innuendo
We’ve all experienced situations when someone makes a comment that appeared normal enough, but it’s not until we walk away and have a chance to reflect that we realize it was a deep and hurtful insult — then we feel upset and weakened because we didn’t defend ourselves.
Sexual harassment can also be like this. You might notice that every time you’re around a co-worker, he or she seems to make a subtle, sexualized comment that leaves you off-balance and disempowered. It’s important to address this kind of harassment quickly by telling the harasser to stop. Otherwise, it could escalate, and you could become so angry that you end up looking like the “bad guy.” This is exactly what a sexual harasser wants — to be the one in control.
Watch for workplace banter and jokes that make you feel uncomfortable
It doesn’t matter if it’s the “workplace culture” or if it’s “just how things are done around this office.” If you feel uncomfortable due to constant junior high school-level “sex jokes” at the office, you should ask for it to stop immediately. No one should ever have to endure this kind of toxic environment in their workplaces.
Has your sexual harassment problem at work already escalated to the point of no return? You may be on the right side of the law. Learn more about your legal right to a workplace that’s free of sexual harassment now.