Unfortunately, sexual harassment is still a common issue in the workplace. A staggering 81% of women and 20% of men experience sexual harassment at some point during their careers. While some instances of sexual harassment are blatantly obvious, more subtle harassment often gets overlooked if you aren’t informed on what sexual harassment in the workplace is.
According to the Pennsylvania Relations Commission, sexual harassment is a “violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.” This violation happens when you experience any unwelcome sexual advances, physical or verbal conduct that is sexual in nature, or requests for sexual favors when:
- Your employment is contingent on your tolerating or participating in sexual conduct. This can be either direct or implied statements or actions.
- The offender uses the acceptance or rejection of such sexual conduct to make decisions regarding your employment
- The behavior, purposefully or not, reasonably interferes with your work performance or creates a working environment which you feel is offensive, hostile, or intimidating
If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, you do have options. Regardless of whether the harassment is verbal or physical, it is never okay and you should not go through it alone. You should report the behavior immediately to either your supervisor or your human resources department.
Workplace discrimination of any kind is a direct violation of the Civil Rights Act. The Civil Rights Act requires that any complaints on sexual harassment must be fully investigated. Additionally, the investigators much protect the victim from any retaliation. If employers find that an employee is guilty of sexual harassment, they must take action to remove the employee immediately.