HOW TO DEAL WITH SEXUAL HARASSMENT

An absolute must read for both employees and employers.

Often we encounter employees who are not adequately informed and/or educated of their rights, and employers who are not sensitive to the nuances of sexual harassment laws and/or are oblivious to the severity of sexual harassment in the workplace and its far reaching implications.

This is one of the best articles I’ve seen on the topic, and should definitely be read by both employers and employees alike.

“A co-worker keeps his wife’s picture on his desk. The picture was taken on their Hawaiian honeymoon, and she’s wearing a bikini. The picture is visible to anyone who enters his office.

An older man in the office refers to the younger women in the office as “the girls.” When addressing them, he calls them “honey” or “sweetheart.” Sometimes he puts an arm around their shoulder, and tells them that “pretty girls keep this old guy going.”

As they walked out of a restaurant following a business lunch, the boss dropped a handful of M&Ms into his secretary’s breast pocket and squeezed her breast.

A newly hired employee leaves his wife and two children at home when he accepts a job on an offshore oil rig. On the rig, he’s taunted by other employees — and by supervisors. One day a co-worker holds him in a shower stall while another co-worker shoves a bar of soap between his buttocks and threatens to rape him.

Perhaps you find all these incidents offensive. Or perhaps you find the photo harmless, the older man lacking in judgment and the M&M and soap incidents repugnant. And therein is the challenge of sexual harassment — what’s hostile or offensive is, to a large extent, in the eye of the beholder, which makes it hard to define.

What Is Sexual Harassment?

Officially, the EEOC says that sexual harassment includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Specifically, such requests, advances or sexual conduct constitute harassment when….