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Illinois sexual harassment lawyersSexual harassment has been in the news more than ever in the last few years. From famous actors to unnamed hotel patrons, women and men who have been victims of sexual harassment are making their voices heard. Sexual harassment in the workplace is a form of illegal sex discrimination.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when an employer or superior offers promotions to an employee in exchange for sexual acts or threatens to fire the employee if he or she does not submit to sexual acts. “Hostile work environment” sexual harassment refers to situations where the employee's work environment is made offensive or hostile due to sexual conduct that negatively affects the employee’s work performance.

Patient Harassment is Par for the Course According to Nurses

Nursing is generally considered to be an extremely demanding career, both physically and emotionally. Nurses are responsible for tasks such as starting intravenous lines, taking blood samples, washing patients, and administering medicine, among much more. They are often physically close to their patients and many of these patients are disabled, elderly, taking medicine which can affect their cognitive abilities, or have been using drugs and alcohol. The combination of the close proximity of nurses to patients along with these other factors has resulted in many nurses being put in uncomfortable and inappropriate situations.

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Illinois sexual harassment lawyerWe would like to believe that we live in an age where mistreating another person due to gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or any other personal characteristic is a thing of the past. Of course, we realize that there will always be certain individuals who behave poorly, but overall, our allegedly “enlightened” society should not have to deal with such problems on a widespread basis. Unfortunately, however, reality does not always match our expectations. A recent study has found that an overwhelming majority of American women will experience some form of sexual harassment before they reach the age of 25.

A Study on Relationships and Sex

A team of researchers from Harvard University conducted in-depth surveys of more than 3,000 high school students and young adults between ages 18 and 25. The study examined how young people approach romantic and sexual relationships based on their personal values and past experiences. While the research covered a variety of topics such as the perception of the so-called “hook-up” culture and concerns about building meaningful romantic relationships, the results revealed some rather disturbing details.

The research team asked participants for their opinions on gender roles and portrayals in our society. About 40 percent of respondents agreed or were neutral regarding the idea that it is “rare to see a woman treated in an inappropriately sexualized manner on television.” Additionally, one-third of young men and one-fifth of young women believed that a man should be dominant in a romantic relationship while only 14 percent of males and 10 percent of females thought a woman should have a more dominant role.

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Illinois sexual harassment lawyers

Despite continued public awareness efforts and educational campaigns, sexual harassment continues to be a problem in today’s society. But, where does the root of the problem lie? Is it simply based in misogyny or are there more complex factors that must be considered? Research is beginning to show that bullying behavior at a young age may be linked with sexual harassment down the road, giving credence to the idea that sexual harassment is, at its core, another form of establishing dominance in a given arena.

A Pattern of Behavior

Several recent studies, including studies from the University of Illinois and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that young adolescent boys who bullied classmates were 4.6 times more likely to commit sexual harassment later in life. Additionally, boys who engaged in homophobic taunts or teasing related to gender or sexual orientation in school were 1.6 times more likely to engage in sexual harassment later.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneys

While Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or nationality; unfortunately, illegal discrimination in the workplace still occurs. A prominent example of such discrimination can be found in sexual harassment—destructive conduct that remains all too common in the American workplace.

Identifying Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes the use of inappropriate language as well as behavior that interferes with an individual’s ability to do his or her job. Victims of sexual harassment may experience unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexual favors, or unwanted physical touching. Both men and women can be perpetrators of sexual harassment as well as victims of such behavior.

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DuPage County sexual harassment attorneysMost people are aware that inappropriate touching and overt sexual advances generally constitute sexual harassment in the workplace. Verbal sexual harassment, however, includes more than just requests for physical acts and obvious catcalls. Unfortunately, many types of verbal harassment are obscured by what society tends to consider “normal behavior,” but “normal” does not make such conduct acceptable. If the behavior is consistent and unwanted—and you have made it clear that you want it to stop—you could have grounds to file a sexual harassment complaint.

What Is Verbal Harassment?

It is important to understand that verbal harassment can include suggestions, jokes, or innuendoes. It can also include a co-worker or supervisor asking inappropriate personal questions or sharing intimate details of his or her sex life. In many cases, verbal sexual harassment will be perpetrated subtly against all workers of one gender in a particular work setting, but just because no one person is singled out does not mean that it is not harassment.

If you have witnessed this type of sexual harassment, you can report it, even if you were not the direct victim. When this type of conduct makes the workplace a hostile or uncomfortable place, sexual harassment can be reported by any employee—even if he or she was not the target or subject of the behavior. Verbal sexual harassment must be gauged on how it impacted a victim, not on the intent of the perpetrator.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree