It probably will not come as a surprise to most Long Beach residents that women are more concerned about sexual harassment than men. A recent Gallup study found that only 53% of men thought workplace sexual harassment was a major problem, compared to 70% of women. Surprisingly, both numbers were down from a 2017 survey asking the same question.
Despite all the awareness surrounding sexual harassment in the workplace since the #MeToo movement, most people across the country are not sure about what behavior constitutes sexual harassment and assault. Unfortunately, many also believe that the movement has gone too far, causing unproven allegations to ruin someone’s career or reputation. However, this should not prevent someone from voicing their concerns or holding someone accountable for their unlawful conduct. In order to do that, it is important to understand what sexual harassment in the workplace constitutes.
Simply put, it is illegal to harass someone because of their sex. This includes, but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, asking for sexual favors, or other sexual or physical harassment. However, what many do not realize is that harassment does not only have to be sexual in nature to qualify. It can include offensive remarks as well. It must reach a level that it is happening often enough to create a hostile environment or offensive work environment or when the person is fired or demoted as a result.
There are many reasons victims do not bring their allegations straight away. It can be difficult for someone to distinguish between an isolated incident that is not serious and an unwanted sexual advance. Additionally, the fear of losing one’s job also prevents people from speaking out against sexual harassment. Lastly, the fear of not being believed is another reason people do not speak out.
However, when someone has been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, it affects their performance at work and cause emotional harm. It is important to come forward and assert one’s right of holding a harasser accountable. An experienced attorney can discuss one’s case with them.