We Protect Workers

What constitutes sexual harassment?

Going to work should not elicit fear and discomfort, but for some, it does. When an employee in the San Diego area dreads returning to the workplace due to verbal comments by coworkers and even customers, it may cause angst and troublesome side effects.

Sexual harassment at work is not a joke. When a comment makes others uncomfortable, it may meet the criteria for sexual harassment and allow an employee to file a claim. Get some critical information on what is and is not harassment in the workplace, so you can better identify it.

Jokes and offhanded remarks

Sexual harassment may look different than you believe. It can occur when someone makes a comment that is offensive and has to do with gender. It does not have to involve touching or grabbing suggestively, although this certainly is the extreme example. Sexual harassment that includes jokes or teasing may escalate if not stopped.

Customers and clients are not immune

Harassment in the workplace is not exclusive to fellow employees. It can also occur when clients, customers, sales reps and anyone else comes into the workplace and make disparaging remarks or inappropriate advances. In interactions with customers or clients, an employee can feel more trapped than with a coworker. It can make the workplace that much more strenuous and stressful.

Telling a supervisor should make it stop

What is an employee to do when faced with sexual harassment? The best course of action is to report the actions to a supervisor or human resources department. Even if a worker is not sure if the actions or words constitute sexual harassment, he or she should immediately report it. This may wind up as part of a pattern of behavior and may escalate in the future. The employer should investigate and take action, even if it is a client or customer.

Feeling unsure about going to work due to someone else’s conduct or words? Reporting sexual harassment and seeing results from an employer are keys to stopping it from recurring.