If you experience a feeling of discomfort on a daily basis related to the behavior of your coworkers or supervisors, you might want to stop and consider whether you’re being sexually harassed. Indeed, the strange thing about sexual harassment is the fact that victims don’t always realize what’s happening until it’s too late — when they’re truly suffering from the abuse.
Here are the hallmark signals of sexual harassment to keep an eye on:
1. You felt the action was offensive.
Was the victim offended by the behavior and was the behavior unwelcome?
Although the offensiveness of a particular person’s behavior or comment could be offensive to one person and not offensive to another, a necessary component of sexual harassment is that the victim must be offended by the behavior.
If you witnessed an action that you felt constituted sexual harassment, but the alleged victim enjoyed it, then it probably wasn’t sexual harassment unless the behavior offended you personally — and then you would be the victim.
2. Reasonable people would also consider the action or statements to be offensive.
Since different people have different opinions about behavior, it’s important to also evaluate whether a reasonable person would consider the behavior to be offensive. If the answer is yes, then it could be deemed sexual harassment. If most people would consider an act inoffensive, it’s probably not harassment.
3. The offensive behaviors or statements were either pervasive or serious.
If a behavior happens again and again, like a boss relentlessly asking an employee on a date, then it could be deemed sexual harassment. On the other hand, if a statement is serious, like someone threatening to fire an employee if he or she doesn’t perform a sexual act, then it only needs to be said once to constitute sexual harassment.
If you feel you were the victim of sexual harassment, our law firm is available to evaluate your situation and determine what you can do to make your harassment stop immediately. We can also advise you of your rights to pursue legal action.