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Sexual harassment is defined as uninvited sexual advances, requests and other physical or verbal behavior with a sexual connotation. Sexual harassment can involve either offensive comments about a person’s sex, or a hostile work environment caused by touching, joking, staring, whistling or glaring. Claims of harassment with a sexual nature should always be taken seriously.

#1 Sexist Behavior or Statements

What may sometimes be seen as harmless behavior, can actually be quite harmful. Statements such as calling a coworker “sweetie” or “honey” can be interpreted as inappropriate. Many people may not even know that their remarks, jokes or “pet” names can actually qualify as sexual harassment. Often times, employees just need to become aware and educated on what exactly sexual harassment is, and is not.

#2 Quid Pro Quo Behavior

The term quid pro quo means “something for something” in Latin. When referring to sexual harassment, this can happen if a supervisor or employee uses their job position (usually a rank of superiority) to intimidate a coworker into partaking in something they do not want to. Even subtle statements about a date in exchange for a raise or promotion can qualify as quid pro quo sexual harassment.

#3 Sexually Implied Conversation

In a workplace environment, coworkers often get to know another and become more comfortable with each other over time. Through this comfortability, friendly chats can easily tip into inappropriate conversation. Sexual harassment can happen even if the statements are not directed at a certain employee, but through unwanted oversharing. For example, catching up with a coworker and telling them you had a date the previous weekend can be fine, but going into gritty detail about what happened afterwards can make another person feel uncomfortable.

Education & Awareness

Informing employees about sexual harassment has to be more in-depth than simply hanging up posters or sending emails. Workplace education about sexual harassment can happen through a job event or meeting, which permits the opportunity to have conversation about the topic. To help prevent sexual harassment, both human resources and employees alike need to be aware of these signs and feel like they can approach management with any issues. If someone of a supervisory position commits sexual harassment against a subordinate, employees must know who they can contact to report the incident.

A sexual assault lawyer MD residents rely on can offer legal guidance and support during this emotional and difficult time. You may be afraid to come forward to report the sexual harassment incident. Or, you may be worried that workplace dynamics will change and that you will no longer be considered for a deserving promotion. Your attorney will be on your side and have only the best of intentions when handling this delicate situation.

Thank you to our friends and contributors at Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and sexual harassment in the workplace.


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