Feeling uncomfortable in the workplace might prompt you to question whether or not someone has violated your rights. Every instance of a problem with a coworker or a coworker’s statements, however, does not always equate to fair allegations of harassment. Harassment can take many different forms, and the courts tend to look at the perception of the person who heard or experienced the harassment in the greater context of the workplace.
Non-sexual conduct could still be categorized as unlawful if it is pervasive and severe. Furthermore, non-sexual conduct can form the basis of a harassment claim if you have been singled out because of your gender. It is also harassment when an employer argues that you are failing to comply to an employer’s stereotypes about how it’s appropriate for your specific gender to behave.
As you are thinking about sexual harassment in the workplace, it is also important to remember that you can be sexually harassed by someone who is the same sex as you. Females can sexually harass females and males can sexually harass males. The primary question asked under these lawsuits is whether or not the conduct would have occurred if the victim had been of a different sex. Identifying a support system as soon as possible after you have encountered an unfortunate situation involving sexual harassment is important. Knowing that you do have rights if the line has been crossed can make a big difference in how you move forward.
Of course, you’ll want to inform your employer about this situation, but in some cases your boss may be the one perpetrating the behavior or perhaps the company doesn’t have a clear policy about how they will deal with instances of sexual harassment, leaving you to continue suffering the consequences in the interim.
These are both unfortunate situations that should never happen to begin with, but if this does apply to you, you need the assistance and support provided by an experienced sexual harassment lawyer who can begin to put together a legal case to hold the relevant party accountable and give you a better idea of what to expect going forward.