Imagine you've been working at the same job for the last seven years, and suddenly a new manager comes on scene. At first, the manager seems like a jokester, and you get along great with him or her, but before you know it, things turn sexual. What you thought was good-natured banter has now taken an insulting and demeaning turn. Your manager has even started to touch you in a way that's extremely uncomfortable.
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.
With the strong political and popular support behind the #MeToo movement, one might suspect that the various agencies that handle sexual harassment complaints are seeing a rise in work. In some parts of the nation, this is certainly true, but not in all areas of the country -- particularly Florida.
No one expects to become the victim of sexual harassment, and they might not catch the behavior until after it becomes severe. Here's how to recognize sexual harassment as quickly as possible so that you can address it and put a stop to it:
People who sexually harass others sometimes do it unconsciously -- it's just a part of their personalities to bully and dominate their coworkers. Other sexual harassers do it strategically, so there aren't any witnesses -- in an attempt to cover their tracks. If you're being sexually harassed by one of these strategic harassers, you'll need to take extra care to gather the evidence required to build a watertight case.
Workplaces in Florida and the rest of the nation are not doing their part in bringing sexual harassment to a stop. The #MeToo movement is further proof of this fact, which -- if you've been victimized by sexual harassment -- you're already well aware of. But just how bad is sexual harassment in U.S. workplaces? The following sexual harassment statistics reveal the distressing truth:
A former employee of the University of South Florida's history department has sued the university over claims of sexual harassment and discrimination. The history professor alleges that while she was employed by USF, she was subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment and disability discrimination by one of her colleagues.
National Beverage Corp. is the famed maker of the popular sparkling water beverage, LaCroix. Recently, the CEO of the company was accused of multiple instances of sexual harassment from more than one employee. According to the CEO, the sexual harassment claims are false.
As an employee, you have basic rights -- like the right to receive fair compensation, the right to be free of discrimination and the right to your privacy. You also have rights as a job applicant to not be subjected to unlawful discrimination during the hiring process.
One of the reasons why sexual harassment gets so far out of hand is that victims dismiss the early warning signs of the behavior as irrelevant. If victims can recognize these early signs and respond to them proactively -- before they get worse -- many difficult circumstances and lawsuits could be avoided.