Workplace sexual harassment does not always involve making direct advances. It may be a bit more indirect, such as when someone in authority hints or offers you a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual favors.
Legally, that is known as quid pro quo sexual harassment, and like all other forms of harassment, it is unlawful.
What you need to know
Perhaps the most important thing you need is proof of your claims. While it may be hard to find hard evidence, any inappropriate comments made to you or witness statements from your colleagues could come in handy when proving your claims.
In addition, you need to show how you were affected by the harasser’s conduct. You deserve justice if you missed out on opportunities or were demoted because you did not give in to sexual demands. Remember, your employer is responsible for keeping the workplace safe by taking measures that prevent any form of harassment. If you followed the internal procedures, but nothing was done about it, it may be time to explore other options.
Filing a sexual harassment claim
You may file a sexual harassment claim with the state or federal agencies charged with enforcing workplace anti-discrimination laws, such as the Equal Employment Opportunites Commission (EEOC). You also have the option of going to court.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, damages may either be compensatory or punitive. For example, you may recover lost wages if you were unlawfully dismissed alongside any other damages such as emotional pain. On the other hand, your employer could be subject to punitive damages if they received the complaint but failed to address the matter.
It may be a difficult moment, given the emotional effects sexual harassment has on victims, but you need to take action and protect your legal rights. Every workplace should feel safe and be free from any form of harassment.