How Should I Handle Being Sexually Harassed in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment comes in many forms. From inappropriate touching to sexually charged comments, sexual harassment can happen to both men and women. And when it does, it’s not only embarrassing, but it can also cause problems in the workplace, if not handled appropriately.
Report the Behavior
If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, you need to report it immediately. Your best course of action is to go to your superior and then HR. If the perpetrator is your boss, go directly to HR and file a complaint. Never let sexual harassment go by the wayside. Unfortunately, most people who are guilty of sexual harassment count on their victims being too afraid to speak up. No one deserves to be talked to or touched in a manner that makes them uncomfortable. Be your own advocate and speak up for yourself. Prior to going to your boss or HR, make a detailed list of what happened, where you were and if applicable, take witnesses with you. The more information you have, the stronger your case will be.
Regardless of the type of work, the proper protocol needs to be followed. Employees need to make sure that they are wary of guests and other staff. For example, in order to address harassment, hotel workers in tourist cities use panic buttons to alert the authorities of potential threats. These panic buttons are hidden and provide a sense of control of an uncomfortable situation. This concept can do wonders to protect employees from feeling threatened and possibly being violated while at work. Especially in positions that deal with a large number of people, having that extra level of security can go a long way.
Ask for Support
Even if you don’t feel necessary violated, you need to reach out for support. Sexual harassment can make you feel unsafe and vulnerable, both in and out of the workplace. Speak to family and friends about what happened and if necessary, seek professional help from a licensed mental health professional. It’s not uncommon to have trust issues after being sexually harassed work, which can negatively affect interpersonal relationships.
Even with harsher punishments in place, sexual harassment still happens in the workplace. If you do become a victim, you need to know that it’s not your fault. Nothing you wear or say gives anyone the right to speak to you or touch you. Make sure you tell the guilty party that their behavior will not be tolerated. Most importantly, never let them bully you into staying quiet. Remember, sexual harassment is illegal.
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