The most common assumption people make about workplace sexual harassment is that men, who are often in positions of power, harass the women that work for them. This view is a product of the male-dominated workforce of the past, something that modern America has largely left behind. Today, men and women both work in largely equal numbers.
So, while male-to-female sexual harassment is still often the most common type, it is not the only one. Both men and women can face sexual harassment, discrimination and other such issues. In harassment cases, both women and men can be the aggressors and/or the victims.
What does workplace sexual harassment entail?
What this harassment looks like differs from case to case. It could entail things like:
- Forcing a sexual relationship
- Making explicit jokes
- Discriminating on the basis of sex
- Asking for sexual favors, often in exchange for things like a raise or a promotion
- Forcing employees into outdated roles
- Initiating unwanted sexual contact
- Sending unwanted text messages, emails and other forms of explicit contact
These are just a few examples, and they’re certainly not all of the ways that harassment can manifest itself. The workplace is changing, and this type of harassment is certainly illegal, but it does continue to happen. Those who experience it may feel like their rights have been violated or their careers have been ruined — or both.
What are your options?
Has something like this happened to you? Regardless of your gender or other personal factors, you do not deserve to be treated this way on the job. Workplace sexual harassment is never okay. You need to know what options you have.