Every employee in the US has the legal right to work in his/her place of work without having to worry about unwanted sexual advances from a co-worker or higher-ups, so here are four ways to recognize sexual harassment that every employee and business manager/owner should be aware of.
Noticing Incessant, One-Sided Flirting
Whether it’s in relation to you or a co-worker, notice if someone in the office continues to flirt, even when their advances are not returned, or it has been made obvious to the individual that the co-worker is not comfortable with such behavior. “Healthy flirting” is something that is not supposed to make you feel awkward, embarrassed or uncomfortable, so if the flirtation is causing any of that, consider it to be a case of sexual harassment, as it is no longer “healthy.”
Recognize Quid Pro Quo Offers
The old Latin phrase “quid pro quo” implies that a party will do the other party a favor, in return for a favor. If a higher-up makes sexual advances towards a subordinate member of staff and offers to provide benefits in return for being sexually involved with him/her, that qualifies as a quid pro quo sexual harassment case against the higher ranking co-worker. The offers can be subtle or blatant, but as long as it implies that the subordinate has something to gain by being in a sexual/romantic involvement with the higher-ranking worker, recognize it as a case of quid pro quo sexual harassment.
Take Sexual Harassment Training
In order to be able to properly identify and/or prevent sexual harassment, one needs to have sexual harassment training. You can find training options here on which will not only teach you to identify sexual harassment in your place of work, but the training will also teach you how to take care of such unwanted advances in the best way possible, after recognizing the situation for what it is.
Sexual harassment training courses are often specific to position, industry, and profession. For example, leaders will find training courses on the site that are designed to teach them how to take the lead and create a sexual harassment-free work environment for the employees, while a harassment and retaliation prevention course will educate both employees and employers on how to handle a potentially threatening scenario with tact and efficiency before it escalates. Go through the long list of sexual harassment training courses they have and choose one that applies to your situation and position the most.
Notice Inappropriate Online Behavior
Any communication via email, social media or text that isn’t professional, but sexual or romantic in nature, can be considered as sexual harassment. If a warning doesn’t stop the offender or the communication is vulgar enough to cause the recipient discomfort, it qualifies as sexual harassment and should be treated as such. The same goes for phone calls as well, as long as they meet the criterion mentioned above.
Sexual harassment is a problem that almost every workplace has had to deal with at one point or the other and while the offense is not always gender-specific, the fact remains that female employees are the victims in a majority of situation. It can be quite disconcerting and yet difficult to determine what really constitutes as sexual harassment, especially when the offending party is being subtle with their advances, but with everything that we just discussed, noticing the signs early should become a lot easier.