How To Recognize Sexual Harassment In Your Workplace

How To Recognize Sexual Harassment In Your Workplace

Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, in any type of workplace. At Kasieta Legal Group, LLC, we represent workers who experience sexual harassment in their professional lives. We defend your rights — under both Wisconsin and federal law — to a workplace free from discrimination and harassment based on your sex or gender.

Some forms of sexual harassment can be egregious, such as when a co-worker or boss makes unwanted physical advances. But other forms of harrassment can be more subtle. All forms of sexual harrassment are a form of workplace discrimination.

It is important to be able to recognize, and take action against, sexual harassment in all forms, including:

  • Inappropriate touching or gestures
  • Lewd comments, slurs or disparaging language, either spoken or written
  • Offensive photos, cartoons or other images

There are two main types of sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo: In quid pro quo ("this for that") sexual harassment claims, a supervisor or employer makes putting up with sexual harassment a condition of employment or a raise or promotion. This includes demanding sexual favors in exchange for a raise or promotion.
  • Hostile workplace: A hostile workplace results when verbal, visual or physical sexual harassment is severe enough to make your working environment abusive, intimidating or offensive. Here, the legal test is whether a "reasonable person" would consider your workplace offensive or abusive because of the harassing behavior.

What To Do If You Experience Sexual Harassment At Work

As soon as you suspect you may be experiencing sexual harassment at work, we recommend you do two things:

  • Document what is happening. Save any harassing emails, photos or pictures. If the behavior involved speech or touch, write down exactly what happened.
  • Talk to your human resources department and follow any workplace policies for reporting. Ideally, your employer will be able to help address the situation. If they are unable to and you need to pursue legal action, it will be important to show that you reported what happened to your employer.

Discuss Your Situation With An Attorney

If your employer is not able to stop the harassing behavior, you may want to talk to a lawyer. We offer free consultations, so do not hesitate to give our Madison office a call at 608-662-9999 or contact us online.

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