10 Common Misconceptions Involving Workplace Sexual Harassment
There are many misconceptions about sexual harassment. Oftentimes unethical behavior tends to get swept under the rug due to these common workplace fallacies. If more people were consciously aware that what they are being subjected to, is not only unethical but it is also unlawful then they would refuse to tolerate it altogether.
Here are 10 misconceptions about sexual harassment in the workplace:
- Harassment always occurs between a boss and his or her employee:
In many instances harassment does occur between an individual of power in the workforce, however it doesn’t always. Sexual harassment can occur between peers or it can be between an employee and his or her client or customer.
- The victim is only the person who is being harassed:
This cannot be further from the truth. Aside from the victim, those who can hear and see the harassment are also being affected. This means that its possible for any individual to be a victim of sexual harassment as well.
- In order for it to be sexual harassment, it has to involve touching:
Sexual harassment may involve touching; it can also involve groping, patting, rubbing or another form of direct contact; however sexual harassment can also involve off-handed comments, requests, words that would make someone uncomfortable, pictures that contain nudity or are offensive and other gestures of a sexual nature.
- Harassment only occurs between a woman and a man:
Actually the truth of the matter is that harassment can occur between a woman and a man. It can also occur between two people of different genders as well.
- If the harassment is ignored, it usually goes away:
The resolution to sexual harassment should be so simple; unfortunately it is not. In fact, usually when harassment is ignored, it is possible that the harassment could worsen in most instances.
- Only men are harassers and women are harassed:
Breaking the laws of sexual harassment do not define the violator as being specifically of one gender or another. The harasser can be a either a female, just as the victim can be a male or vice versa; or they can be the same gender.
- It’s not harassment if he/she was only joking:
Not only is there an appropriate place and time for jokes and humorous behavior but jokes are not always in “good” taste. When jokes, remarks or other behavior are offensive to one or more individuals, it quickly crosses the line to harassment. Be mindful of the words that are used in a workplace setting. If those words cause you to feel uncomfortable, it’s worth reporting what was said.
- It’s not harassment if he/she was giving a compliment:
Even if an individual intends for his or her words or actions to come across as flattering, it can still be offensive to another individual in which case it becomes harassment.
- Harassment is prompted by sexual desire:
Harassment is usually not sparked by the sexual desire of another individual. It’s usually motivated by a person’s desire for control, power and/or intimidation.
- The conduct did not occur while at work, so it cannot be harassment:
Most of the time when this happens, it’s usually a type of harassment called “Quid Pro Quo” which in Latin means “this for that.” It generally involves a person of power who offers an employee a raise, bonus or not firing in exchange for committing a sexual act, a sexual favor or a sexual relationship. Unfortunately it is still harassment, even if it is not committed on the premises of work.
Have you or someone you know been experiencing one or more of the above behaviors at your job? If so, it’s time that you take a stand for your rights and put an end to the harassment.
New York City Sexual Harassment Lawyers Serving Employees Rights in NY, NJ and PA
It doesn’t matter where you work, if you believe you have been the victim of NY, NJ, PA workplace sexual harassment or discrimination, our team of sexual harassment lawyers strongly urge you to reach out to our law firm for a free consultation.
The NY, NJ, PA sexual harassment attorneys at the Derek T. Smith Law Group, PLLC handle a multitude of employment discrimination cases that involve sexual harassment in Manhattan and the greater New York City area. We also represent employee’s sexual harassment cases in New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Washington D.C. Sexual Harassment is gender-based discrimination and it is illegal. For further information, please feel free to call us at 212-587-0760 or toll-free at 1-877-4NYLAWS or click here to schedule a free consultation.