In legal terms, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance or conduct on the job that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment. In real life, sexually harassing behavior ranges from repeated offensive or belittling jokes to a workplace full of offensive pornography to an outright sexual assault.
Intro: Today, we will be discussing Harassment in the workplace: preventing a hostile work environment. We will discuss the various types of harassment and how to efficiently handle a sh situation in the workplace. We will also discuss how to prevent sh in the workplace to maintain a professional environment.
LAWS TO PROTECT YOU
Are there laws that protect against sexual harassment on the job?
Yes. In 1980, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued regulations defining sexual harassment and stating it was a form of sex discrimination prohibited by the Civil Rights Act, which had been originally passed in 1964. In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court first ruled that sexual harassment was a form of job discrimination -- and held it to be illegal.
Today, there is greater understanding that the Civil Rights Act prohibits sexual harassment at work. In addition, most states have their own fair employment practices laws that prohibit sexual harassment -- many of them more strict than the federal law. To find out the law in your state, call 800-669-4000 and ask for the federal EEOC office nearest you.
Video: SH made simple- 6mins
I'm being sexually harassed at work. What should I do?
Tell the harasser to stop. Surprisingly often -- some experts say up to 90% of the time -- this works.
When confronted directly, harassment is especially likely to end if it is at a fairly low level: off-color jokes, inappropriate comments about your appearance, tacky cartoons tacked onto the office refrigerator or repeated requests for dates after you have said no.
But clearly saying you want the offensive behavior to stop does more than let the harasser know that the behavior is unwelcome. It is also a crucial first step if you later decide to take more formal action against the harasser. And give serious thought to documenting what's going on by keeping a diary or journal; your case will be stronger if you can later prove that the harassment continued after you confronted the harasser.
What if the harassment doesn't stop even after I've confronted the harasser?
If the harasser has ignored your oral requests to stop, or you are uncomfortable talking to the harasser face to face, write a succinct letter demanding an end to the behavior-and save a copy. If that doesn't end the harassment, you should escalate your complaint within the company. Check your company's employee handbook, personnel policies or manual. Is there a sexual harassment or complaint policy? If not, ask someone in the human resources or personnel department how to make a sexual harassment complaint.
Although you might be tempted to skip this step, don't give in to the temptation. The U.S. Supreme Court has said that, if an employee fails to use the company's internal complaint procedure to make the company aware of (and give the employer a chance to correct) the problem, she cannot later hold the company liable in a lawsuit for her harassment. This means that you are quite likely to lose in court -- should it come to that -- if you don't complain right now. Even if your company doesn't have a formal complaint procedure, you are on safest ground if you put the company on notice of the harassment. You can do this by making a complaint to the human resources department, telling your supervisor of the problem or sending a letter to a company VIP.
How should I prepare to make a complaint, either within my company or to a state or federal agency?
Start by collecting as much detailed evidence as possible about the specifics of your harassment.
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