If I say the term “sexual harassment” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?

  • Is it an image of a man; possibly a supervisor who forces a woman to perform sexual favors for him in exchange for either keeping her job or being promoted to a higher position in the company?
  • Perhaps you may picture a female employee in the workforce who is consistently being grabbed and fondled in a slightly indistinct way by her boss.

While both scenarios may certainly be common in cases of workplace sexual harassment, they are far from being the only pictures that can be drawn up about this topic. In fact, there are many ways in-which workplace sexual harassment can occur.

Sexual harassment, defined by The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is sexual advances that are unwelcome, any requests or demands for sexual favors or any verbal or physical conduct of sexual characteristics. It also indicates that the conduct would affect the employment of the individual and provide interference in the individual’s work performance constituting intimidating, offensive or hostile work surroundings.

Based on this description, you can surmise that sexual harassment is not always quite distinguishable and it’s best to consult a New York City sexual harassment attorney if you have any questions about possible sexual harassment misconduct at your job.

In the meantime, I am debunking 4 sexual harassment myths to help those who may be uncertain about determining his or her rights as an employee when dealing with unethical behavior in the workplace.

  1. I am a woman who is being sexually harassed by my female boss. She continues to ask me out on dates even though I have firmly rejected her advances. It makes me uncomfortable every time she comes around me, but I feel I have no recourse since most of the time workplace sexual harassers are men harassing women.

The truth of the matter is that you should not keep harassment to yourself; even if you think it may be slightly untraditional according to the norm.  No one should be subjected to a hostile work environment under any circumstances. The harasser in addition to the victim could be a male or a female in any sexual harassment situation.  The victim could also be the same sex as the harasser; men can harass men as well as women harassing women and men are also harassed by women. Do not be ashamed of the circumstances. Seek the advice of an NYC sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible.

  1. An employee from another department is constantly coming around and leaning on the desk of a co-worker that sits across from me. Oftentimes he gives her massages and whispers in her ear. She has asked him to stop but he doesn’t let up.  I am offended by his actions and I feel like it’s affecting my work performance. If I were her, I would look into speaking with a sexual harassment attorney to find out if I had a legitimate sexual harassment claim.

Yes, your coworker should seek legal counsel from an experienced sexual harassment lawyer, but truthfully, the victim does not have to be the person being harassed.  It can be someone else who is offended by the actions.  Don’t delay; you too are entitled to a peaceful work environment and if someone else’s conduct is disturbing you at work, then you have the right to take action as well.

  1. I’m a cashier at a supermarket. Each time one of the food vendors comes into stock the shelves, he usually likes to touch my hair and sniff it.  I have asked him to stop on several occasions and have even reported him to the company that employs him, but still, he continues his creepy activities every time he sees me.  Too bad he’s not a direct employee of the supermarket, then maybe I could do something more.

In actuality, the harasser does not have to be an employee of the company you work for.  Do not accept this type of treatment from anyone while you are performing your job. Report the behavior to your HR department at once and if the harassment continues to seek legal advice from a sexual harassment lawyer immediately.

  1. I am a man that works in a department with several women. These women are constantly gathered at a fellow coworker’s cubicle ogling over calendars of men dressed in just underwear. I have asked the women to stop as it is very disruptive and offensive to me.  Too bad there’s nothing else I can do.

Wrong.  While workplace sexual harassment may often include unwanted touching and feeling; it is not limited to such actions. It can also consist of pornography, graphic images of men and/or women, naked or semi-naked, jokes of offensive or sexual nature.

It’s important that you should remember in any circumstance at your job if it feels uncomfortable to you, affects your job performance or is causing you mental distress, you need to seek the professional advice of an NYC sexual harassment and employment law attorney.

Schedule a free consultation with a sexual harassment attorney at the Derek Smith Law Group, PLLC in New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Miami. You can reach us online or by calling 877-469-5297.