A workplace should be professional and respectful. Employees and employers should treat each other with the utmost dignity. Unfortunately, some will use the workplace as an opportunity to prey on their colleagues and make unwanted advances. This can create an incredibly hostile environment. These are four signs you’re experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.
Uncomfortable Comments Are Made
Sexual harassment can start off seeming rather innocuous. However, it can quickly devolve into people saying things that are rather unsettling. A coworker might compliment you on an outfit but then start to ask questions that are far too personal. Should someone’s comments or questions make you uncomfortable, it’s very likely that you’re experiencing sexual harassment. They might claim they meant no harm, but they should know better about what it means to be professional.
People Won’t Take “No” for an Answer
There’s nothing wrong with asking someone out on a date. What is wrong is doing so again after being turned down. Someone not leaving you alone is a definite sign of harassment. Demanding somebody do any sort of romantic favor for you is completely unacceptable. You should never feel obligated to go out with someone you don’t want to. Your romantic life belongs to nobody but yourself.
You’re Being Demeaned for Your Gender
You may experience insulting comments based on your gender, such as someone saying you’re having trouble “because you’re a woman.” This creates a hostile work environment in which people believe they can bully others for biological reasons. No one deserves to be mistreated in this way. Some people will make sexist comments without explicitly mentioning your gender, but you can fairly easily gauge what the intention was through their phrasing.
People Don’t Keep Their Hands to Themselves
For the workplace to be professional and respectful, people must know how to keep their distance physically. There might not seem to be anything unseemly about stroking your arm or rubbing your shoulders unexpectedly, but no one should be touching anyone without their consent. You need to speak up and tell them not to do this. If they refuse, go to your human resources department and report how they’ve been mistreating you. Anyone who makes the workplace feel remotely unsafe needs to be terminated.
No amount of sexual harassment is acceptable. You come to the office every day to work and earn an income, not to be abused. If you’ve been experiencing sexual harassment, you need to speak out and fight so it doesn’t happen again. If you end up filing a lawsuit, consider speaking with a structured settlement funding company to assist you with your case.
Guest author, Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. She went to college at The Ohio State University where she studied communications. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and long walks in the park with her 3-year-old husky Snowball. @LizzieWeakley