Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sexual Harassment: Dealing With it Inside the Workplace

A steady and comfortable working relationship is part and parcel of the whole experience of employment. For employees and superiors to work harmoniously to achieve a common goal, it is an imperative in the workplace to observe proper decorum when dealing with each other. As such, it is also an imperative for all within the workplace to act out professionally and, as much as possible, set aside personal and social dealings for the sake of work.

But at some point, the workplace can be a hostile environment to work on. It could start from a simple, offensive joke from a co-worker that is quite obscene in nature. Another co-worker would start making sexually suggestive comments towards a female employee. It could go even worse; from putting pornographic material on the wallpaper of the computer, to a sexual assault initiated by a high-ranking superior towards an employee.

Sexual harassment is seen as one of the most common problems inside the workplace. To define it in the legal sense, it is an “unwelcoming” sexual advance or conduct within the employment scheme that instigates an unacceptable working environment that is described as either hostile or offensive. It is an equal opportunity offense; it does not only refer to the common man-harasses-woman form, but also refers to sexual advances between superiors and employees of different sexual orientations.

But then, sexual harassment can be stopped right away. Anyway, employees are protected by the federal and state statutes that prevent them from getting sexually harassed. For instance, the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act puts employers responsible for preventing sexual harassment while on the job. In California, the FEHA or California Fair Employment and Housing Act also has a stipulation of forbidding sexual harassment while on the job.

There are ways to stop a harasser from going under the co-worker or employee’s skin. Telling the harasser to stop is the simplest way. Explaining the reason for stopping his sexual advances would clear everything up. An ignored plea to stop the harassment may get out of hand, so it is best for the harassed to tell his or her high-ranking bosses about it.

For sure, the bosses would reprimand the erring harasser for his misconduct. If the employer is not cooperative enough, the harassed may be off filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC. Doing so may strengthen his or her bid to file a lawsuit with the help of available Los Angeles employment lawyers. That way, the harassed could successfully end dealing with his or her harasser.


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