Working with someone who makes you feel uncomfortable can interfere with your productivity. Worrying about your safety can distract you from performing your best and might prevent you from wanting to go to work at all.
Understanding what equates to sexual harassment can help you identify whether or not you are a victim. Taking a proactive approach to your situation may prevent things from worsening.
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome conduct. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment can include a variety of behaviors such as the following:
- Sexual jokes
- Sexual comments about you
- Displays of offensive pictures
- Repeated requests for dates
- Inappropriate touching
If someone continues to give you unsolicited, unwelcome attention, you may begin to feel threatened and uncomfortable. If you have asked the perpetrator to stop and the behavior continues, it is time to take your concerns to the next level and report the situation to human resources.
Sexual harassment can also occur if you experience persistent exposure to inappropriate commentary that does not involve you. For example, if you hear repeated offensive conversations from other coworkers that make you feel uncomfortable, you can allege sexual harassment even if the commentary is not about you.
Document the experiences you have. Keep records of encounters that leave you feeling uncomfortable. These recordings can substantiate your claims when you file a formal complaint with your employer’s human resources department. Taking swift action can help prevent harassment in the workplace, as well as protect you from situations that could threaten your safety or disrupt your career success.