Let’s face it—does anyone want their mother, sister, girlfriend, female co-worker or friend to experience sexual harassment in the workplace? You are welcome to insert any female into this subject matter. The only person who wants to harass a woman sexually is someone who wants to have power over her.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), both the victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. We often think it’s an issue of men mistreating women, but that is not always the case. Women sexually harass women, too.
It’s important to understand the EEOC’s guidelines on sexual harassment. Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).
Sometimes the sexual harassment begins with someone putting their hand on a female—when someone places their hand upon another person, it can affect a woman negatively and profoundly. Examples of possible sexual harassment may be repeated requests for a date when the female has asked the person to stop asking her for relationship engagements, and she is not interested in dating this person.
Power can be wielded over a female by denial of a fiscal commission, better work benefits, time off, reasonable accommodations due to a certified medical need and the list goes on and on.
No one has to feel powerless! We all have choices and a voice inside us that says, “Oh no. I am no putting up with this nonsense!”
There are times you may need to take action and contact your local police if the matter is severe. It’s better to communicate with your local law enforcement than to take things in your hand.
Contact an employment attorney if the matter is appropriate for them to intervene on your behalf. Take action by communicating with EEOC personnel who can guide you in filing a sexual harassment discrimination charge. You may also be instructed to submit charges at your state-level by the EEOC.
The influence you may have to help a female or other females affected by sexual harassment is unlimited. Women will need to be able to provide sexual harassment discrimination evidence to the EEOC or to another resource. One empowering way is to send an email to the perpetrator asking them to stop placing their hands on them or insert what the issue is in this email. The email can also include the HR department or the leader of a company or organization.
Witnesses often get scared to get involved in office matters, so you may have to become creative and find a way to document or provide evidence to support a sexual harassment discrimination claim. I encourage people to submit emails from their work computer, print out the sent email and put the document in a safe location.
If the company fires the female to avoid helping her, she may need to provide evidence to challenge unemployment compensation or use the documentation in her efforts to receive a fair outcome from her experience.
Females often feel very vulnerable when they are mistreated—help them to feel validated and supported. They may need to seek professional mental health care if they have been sexually harassed. The power is always in you—not outside of you, to stand up to sexual harassment.
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