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5 Ways to Know If You’re being Sexually Harassed at Work

We expect any career to come with stress: meeting deadlines, being proficient in the workplace and doing a good job. What we shouldn’t expect is sexual harassment at our job. The harassment at work doesn’t necessarily have to be sexual in nature, either. It can pertain to gender discrimination as well. When this happens, contacting an employment attorney is a great place to start when protecting your job and yourself.

Here are five ways to know if you’re being sexually harassed at your job:

1. You experience unwanted commentary, touching, or intrusive questioning of a sexual nature. A hand on the knee or thigh, a lingering shoulder touch, or standing too closely are all things that can make you feel uncomfortable or frightened. Unwanted attention, physically or vocally, is harassment, even if it is seemingly innocent or playful.

2. You’re afraid to speak up. If you’re afraid to tell the person they are making you uncomfortable, it is a sign you’re being harassed at work. If you’re afraid of the person or fearful of the ramifications of a complaint at work, it’s a red flag. Don’t feel pressured to “go along with it.”

3. Jokes, derogatory commentary, and workplace commentary which address gender or intimate situations are harassment. Conversations in which a coworker makes you feel angry, afraid, uncomfortable, or unsafe may make you worry that it’s just you or does not constitute harassment. It does.

4. Coercion, bribery, and blackmail. If a boss or co-worker is attempting to use your position or your pay as leverage for forcing sexual acts, discussions, or the like, it is harassment. If you feel threatened in such a way, it is imperative you document everything you can and reach out for help.

5. Gender discrimination. You discover your shifts are getting cut, changed, or eliminated because of your gender. You aren’t getting clients or allowed upward mobility because of your gender. This kind of discrimination may not seem like sexual harassment, but it is and you are entitled to address it.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can negatively impact the victim. Depression and anxiety at work can manifest, a career can stall, absenteeism may become an issue, and ultimately, it may cause job loss. Things you can do include documenting any and all instances of unwanted attention. Getting in touch with an employment attorney is a great first step. They will guide you through validating your feelings and protecting yourself when addressing the issue.

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace and would like to speak to an attorney, contact Tanya Gommerman. Call 415-545-8608 to schedule a FREE attorney consultation today.

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