Stopping Sexual Harassment: Ensuring Safe Work Environments Throughout Michigan
Sexual harassment is a serious threat to your safety and well being, yet many employers ignore it or even actively take part in it. Without protection from sexual harassment, you may feel unsafe or unwilling to advance your career. If we are ever to achieve gender equality in the workplace, it is essential that employers avoid engaging in sexual harassment and punish employees who do. As a civil rights law firm, Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers has the training and experience to challenge all instances of sexual harassment. Our experienced lawyers strive to stop this behavior and gain redress for everyone affected by it.
Are You a Victim of Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment takes many different forms, and you may be a victim without fully realizing it. Sexual harassment can be defined by a number of behaviors and situations which include:
- A supervisor or boss demanding sex as a condition for promotions, raises, benefits and improved working conditions or assignments
- An organizational environment which allows and tolerates sexual jokes and comments, touching, groping and the display of sexually explicit or embarrassing photos or objects
- Ongoing derogatory remarks from co-workers about a person’s body or sexual attractiveness
- Assault, grabbing, rape or other criminally sexual behavior by a supervisor or co-worker
- Retaliation after an employee rebuffs or reports sexual advances or a sexually hostile environment
- Making derogatory comments about your body and other explicitly sexist remarks
- Making inappropriate jokes and comments about sex
- Displaying sexually explicit pictures
- Making sexual advances
- Demanding that individuals wear sexually explicit clothing
- Retaliating against individuals who complain about sexual comments and unwanted advances
Sexual harassment is closely connected with sexual abuse and violence, which range from inappropriate touching to groping to rape. In an environment that tolerates inappropriate sexual comments, those who have been sexually abused will be less willing to come forward and take action against their assailants. This makes it essential that employers stop even seemingly minor instances of harassment, punish the perpetrators, and compensate the victims. Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers opposes every variety of sexual harassment in the workplace, sending a message that violence, discrimination, and inappropriate behavior will not be tolerated.
Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), there were more than 11,000 workplace sexual harassment charges filed with them in 2011. Yet, the EEOC also estimates that only 5-15 percent of employees experiencing sexual harassment even report the incident or file a formal complaint. As these statistics indicate, sexual harassment is still prevalent in many businesses and industries. Two types of sexual harassment in the workplace include:
- Creating a Hostile Work Environment - If an employee frequently faces lewd comments, demands for sex, inappropriate touching, and other forms of sexual harassment and assault, they will feel uncomfortable and unsafe at work. Not only does this harm their mental health, but it may also make it harder for them to do their job well or advance in their career, as they will lack self-esteem and fear calling attention to themselves.
- Creating Quid Pro Quos - Employers and other authority figures in the workplace often promise to promote employees or promise not to fire them, in exchange for sexual favors. This punishes employees who are unwilling to perform such favors. It also opens the door to blackmailing employees who do perform sexual favors to advance.