You love your job. In fact, you look forward to clocking in at work each morning. And you love your co-workers, too. Well, except for Jack who randomly makes uncomfortable remarks about your body at the coffee point, or Susan who constantly shares all suggestive photos and video clips via WhatsApp. But, is this okay? Could you be a victim of sexual harassment at work?
Sexual harassment has no place in the workplace. Unfortunately, it happens. And if you are a victim, you deserve justice. However, recognizing the signs of sexual harassment at work can be quite difficult. Here are some of the warning signs you need to look out for if you believe someone is sexually harassing you at work.
Comments about your appearance
It is not uncommon for a colleague to compliment your dress or hairstyle. However, if the compliment has something to do with your physical appearance in a way that makes you feel objectified, then this could be a subtle sign of sexual harassment. An example of this would be a situation where your supervisor comments about your cleavage in a way that makes you uncomfortable.
Unwanted physical contacts
Unwelcome physical contact that is sexual in nature can be a clear sign of sexual harassment. These can include simple acts like a pat on your back or the perpetrator having their arms around your waist or shoulder. They can also include aggressive acts like an attempt to kiss or grope you.
Demands for a romantic relationship
Your employer or someone in a position of authority cannot demand a sexual relationship with them in return for a work-related benefit like a pay rise, promotion and better working conditions. This is a form of sexual harassment known as quid pro quo (something in exchange for something). If this happens, you need to take action again the perpetrator.
Sexual harassment at work hurts both the victims as well as the organization’s reputation. Find out how you can safeguard your rights and interests if you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment.