Sexual harassment in the workplace is an everyday occurrence in Utah and can make the work environment a very uncomfortable place to be. Not only is sexual harassment immoral, it is illegal.
It is banned under United States law and by Utah statutes. Utah common law also sometimes gives remedies to victims of sexual harassment.
In 2004, over 13,000 sexual harassment charges were filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Over $37,000,000 was recovered for victims of sexual harassment as a result of those charges.
Although most sexual harassment cases deal with men harassing female employees, nearly 15% of those charges were brought about by males, so sexual harassment in the workplace is common for both men and women.
What is sexual harassment?
The EEOC, defines sexual harassment as:
“Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment”.
Examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
- A superior implying to an employee that they must sleep with him/her to keep a job.
- An employee shows explicit photos of women to a male co-worker, making that co-worker feel uncomfortable.
- A receptionist is made to feel uncomfortable by fellow employees who regularly tell sexually explicit jokes.
- An employee in the workplace grabs and fondles a coworker against her will.
- A secretary’s coworkers belittle her and refer to her by sexist or demeaning terms.
- An employee sends emails to co-workers that contain sexually explicit language and pictures.
The examples above are some of the most common illegal workplace practices involving sexual harassment but there are many others that occur on a regular basis.
What Should I do if I’m being Sexually Harassed?
Often times, the victims of sexual harassment are afraid to do anything. They are afraid of losing their jobs or getting their hours cut. They didn’t want to seem like they are not being a team player. They are worried about career suicide.
One thing is clear, however, that when the sexual harassment is not reported, it is almost certain to continue. Not only that, it will likely spread to others.
Following are some suggestions of what to do if you are the victim of sexual harassment:
- Tell the harasser in clear, unmistakeable language that the harassment is unwelcome.
Report the harassment to your immediate supervisor or the person designated in your employee handbook as being the person to complain to in these situations.If the harassment doesn’t stop immediately, call us to discuss your situation with a Utah Sexual Harassment Attorney.Don’t wait to call. Your statute of limitations can be as short as 180 day.
We are dedicated to eradicating sexual harassment in the work place. Don’t hesitate to call. We are passionate about what we do.