Workplace sexual harassment is widespread, with 38% of women reporting sexual harassment at work. Sexual harassment can take many different forms, ranging from inappropriate comments to unwanted sexual advances. Get the facts on what constitutes sexual harassment and what to do if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
What Constitutes Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal, nonverbal, written, or visual. It can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
The victim, as well as the harasser, may be a man or a woman. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
The harasser can be anyone the victim works with.
The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.
While federal law does not prohibit isolated incidents, sexual harassment is illegal when it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision, such as a firing or a demotion, for the victim.
A Common Crime
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) received 26,978 claims of workplace harassment, of which more than half were about sex-based harassment and a quarter specifically about sexual harassment, in 2017. Between 2005 and 2015, women made 80% of sexual harassment charges to the EEOC; men made 20%. Research also shows that only 10% of those who experience harassment ever formally report incidents of harassment or make charges to the EEOC due to lack of accessible complaints processes, embarrassment, or fear of retaliation.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s important to keep in mind that federal and state law protects employees who file complaints of sexual harassment from negative employment actions.
At the law firm of Mark David Shirian, P.C., we understand the difficulties of pursuing a sexual harassment claim. However, we know it’s important to hold your harasser accountable for their actions. Our workplace sexual harassment attorneys will work to develop a strategy that will achieve your goals and protect your rights.
Contact us today at (212) 931-6530 to learn how we can assist you.