Workplace Misery: How To Deal With Sexual Harassment At Work

In most cases, your job means a lot more to you than just a means to earn a living. It allows you the opportunity to use your interests and talents for a greater good and puts you in contact with like-minded co-workers everyday. Sometimes, however, the work situation can cause you to dread walking through the office door each morning. Sexual harassment cannot be ignored; it doesn't just go away on its own and you must take action to deal with it. You have a right to work without fear of constant harassment, so read on to learn more about this troubling issue and what to do to ensure that it ends.

Two type of sexual harassment.

In general, sexual harassment can be divided into two categories.

1. Quid Pro Quo: This phrase translates from Latin (roughly) as "something for something"; in other words "you do something for me and I will do something for you". While this workplace practice seems harmless enough on the surface, when the "something" you are expected to do for a return favor is sexual in nature, you are talking about sexual harassment. As you may imagine, a person above your pay grade often perpetrates this form of harassment, since they are most in position to affect your ability to get a promotion, a raise or other workplace practices that could be beneficial.

Conversely, failure to "play along" with this form of harassment could result in very negative consequences, from being demoted, left without opportunities for advancement, left out of meetings and other career boosting activities. Ultimately, you could face job loss if you fail to date or participate in sexual relations with the person in the supervisory position. Many victims of this behavior fail to notice that they are being punished for not going along with the supervisor's advances until it's too late.

2. Hostile Work Environment: This type of harassment takes the form of coworkers or supervisors participating in sexually-oriented emails, jokes, artwork, calendars and more. In some cases, you may be suffer from unwanted touching, hugs, and continued unwelcome requests for dates or more. For example, if your company thinks that a strip club is an appropriate place to take a client, you may be working in a hostile work environment.

Coping Tactics

1. Keep up with unwanted sexual advances in a journal and begin as soon as you know there is a problem.

2. Let the offender know in no uncertain terms that their actions are unwanted and that you will be taking action.

3. Report to your supervisor, and to their supervisor if necessary. Your company may require you to report to human resources as well.

4. File a complaint with the EEOC.

5. Talk to an employment attorney; sometimes an appropriately-worded letter to the offender will put a stop to the harassment.



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