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How can retail workers respond to sexual harassment?

Claims of sexual harassment abound in Florida headlines, but many workers say they're still being victimized by this behavior. One segment of the working population that is particularly at risk of being sexually harassed is workers in the retail industry.

Many of these workers are working in closed spaces with each other, they are young and don't have a lot of work experience, so these workers may not be perfectly clear of their legal rights.

If you work in the retail industry, here are two ways to respond to sexual harassment:

Speak out against uncomfortable behavior immediately: As soon as someone makes an unwanted sexual comment, requests a sexual favor or engages in unwelcome touching, speak out immediately. When you take action against sexual harassment early, it often will not escalate, and you won't have a serious problem on your hands.

Understand your company's anti-sexual harassment policy: In your employee manual or handbook, locate the information about your company's sexual harassment policy. In particular, you'll want to know what the procedure is to report instances of sexual harassment.

Always notify a "safe" person about sexual harassment: If no procedures have been provided, talk to a human resources manager or someone else in management. Every company structure is different.

Sometimes, the very person you are supposed to notify about sexual harassment is the individual who is harassing you. If that's the case, you'll want to find an alternative person in power with whom you can lodge a complaint. If no such person exists, you may need to seek experienced legal guidance.

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