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Victims of sexual harassment in the workplace are subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature as well as unwelcome verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature. Unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature translates to mean the deliberate and repeated making of unsolicited gestures or comments of a sexual nature and/or the deliberate and repeated display of offensive sexually graphic materials which is not necessary for business purposes.
Sexual harassment is classified as a type of gender based discrimination, and is often categorized as either “quid pro quo” or “Hostile Working Environment” sexual harassment.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment means that submission to sexual advances or sexual favors is made a condition of employment. To be more specific, if your supervisor or boss says that you will be fired unless you engage in sexual activity or offers to promote you if you engage in sexual activity, you would then be the victim of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Hostile Working Environment sexual harassment is any unwanted physical, verbal or visual conduct of a sexual nature that affects the victim’s ability to perform his or her job and creates a work environment that is hostile, intimidating or offensive.
Both State and Federal law prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace.
Many people tend to think that sexual harassment can only be done by men to women, but this common misconception is not true. While both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment, it is equally true that both men and women can be perpetrators of sexual harassment as well. With that said, the perpetrator and the victim of sexual harassment do not need to be of the same sex.
It is important to also point out that while the person who is the subject of sexual harassment is a victim, anyone else that is affected by the harassment may also be considered a victim.
It is never a good idea to just ignore sexual harassment. This will not make the problem go away, and it could actually just intensify the problem. Your employer cannot take action to remedy the situation unless you make them aware that harassment has occurred. In fact, if you fail to report any sexual harassment in a timely fashion, your legal rights could be affected. With that said, any form of sexual harassment should be reported immediately.
Most companies have a written sexual harassment policy. Request a copy of the policy and follow the guidelines outlined. If your employer does not have a sexual harassment policy, then it is best to report the harassment to your direct supervisor. However, if your direct supervisor is the harasser, then it is best to report the harassment to your supervisor’s supervisor or just go directly to Human Resources.
Many victims do not report sexual harassment because they think it will eventually stop or they are ashamed that the conduct occurred and want to forget about it. Some blame themselves or even fear retribution or retaliation. The most important thing to remember is that being the victim of sexual harassment is not something to be ashamed of. This is actually a common workplace problem. It is best to report sexual harassment in a timely manner so that you can vividly remember the details of the harassment. It can be helpful to write down the days, times and detailed descriptions of harassing behavior.
Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. Retaliation can include cutting hours, modifying wages, enforcing rules more strictly, judging performance more critically and taking away work assignments. If you have reported sexual harassment and feel like your employer is retaliating, it is very important to report the retaliation.
If you have been the victim of sexual harassment, have reported an instance of sexual harassment and your employer has not taken action or if you have been the victim of retaliation for reporting an occurrence of sexual harassment, you do not need not quit your job. Unless the sexual harassment and/or retaliation is so severe that a reasonable person would have no choice but to quit, your legal rights could be jeopardized if you quit your job.
If you feel you have been the victim of sexual harassment and/or retaliation, it is in your best interest to speak with an Employment Lawyer at Whittel & Melton as soon as possible. By obtaining legal counsel early on, you can only strengthen your legal claims in the event there is an adverse employment action taken. Our expert employment law attorneys can begin assisting you immediately. Call us today at 866-608-5529 or contact us online to request a completely free and confidential consultation.
We proudly serve clients throughout the state of Florida and have offices in the following communities:
Hernando County Employment Attorneys – Brooksville, Spring Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-666-2121
Marion County Employment Attorneys – Ocala, The Villages Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-369-5334
Alachua County Employment Attorneys – Gainesville Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-264-7800
Hillsborough County Employment Attorneys – Tampa, Brandon Sexual Harassment Lawyers 813-221-3200
Pasco County Employment Attorneys – New Port Richey, Dade City Sexual Harassment Lawyers 727-847-2299
Sumter County Employment Attorneys – Bushnell, The Villages Sexual Harassment 352-793-9330
Citrus County Employment Attorneys – Inverness, Crystal River, Homosassa Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-726-0078
Pinellas County Employment Attorneys – St. Petersburg, Clearwater Sexual Harassment Lawyers 727-847-2299
Levy County Employment Attorneys – Bronson, Cedar Key Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-726-0078
Lake County Employment Attorneys – Tavares, Leesburg, Clermont Sexual Harassment Lawyers 352-793-9330
Palm Beach, Broward & Miami-Dade County Employment Attorneys – Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Miami Sexual Harassment Lawyers 561-367-8777