What is sexual harassment and who should it be reported to when it occurs in the workplace?

Sexual harassment in the workplace has been an ongoing issue for years. Still today, many people are being harassed by a co-worker, employer, client, or customer, making it difficult for them to perform their duties. When an individual displays behavior in a sexual context that interferes with a person’s ability to work or creates an “intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment,” it is considered sexual harassment.

While some individuals are much more forward with their behavior, others may be more discrete in an attempt to make it seem as though what they are doing is not a form of sexual harassment.

What are some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace?

There are several types of behaviors that fall into the category of sexual harassment. According to the EEOC, the following would constitute as sexual harassment when it directly affects or interferes with a person’s ability to work:

Who should sexual harassment be reported to?

When an employee is being sexually harassed in the workplace, they have a few different options in terms of who they can report it to, some of which include:

  1. A manager or supervisor. Anyone who is assigned the position of overseeing and managing employees should be equipped to address a sexual harassment complaint. If the harasser happens to be the employee’s manager or supervisor, they can then report it to one of the individuals listed down below.
  2. An employee’s HR (human resources) department. Larger companies often have an HR department that handles workplace issues such as sexual harassment.
  3. The EEOC. The EEOC does accept and investigate complaints of sexual harassment.
  4. A sexual harassment lawyer. Although it can benefit an individual to contact a sexual harassment attorney directly after an incident, it is especially important for an employee to contact a legal expert when the other sources listed above ignore their complaints or fail to address them.

When an individual is being sexually harassed, they should discourage the behavior immediately and report it to any of the following individuals listed above. If an employee needs help locating a sexual harassment lawyer in their city, is ready and available to help them find one.