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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysThe issue of workplace sexual harassment is no longer a concealed topic. More and more brave victims are coming forward and saying “enough is enough” with regard to the discriminatory and humiliating problem of sexual harassment. However, there are still many myths and misunderstandings surrounding sexual harassment.

If you have experienced any version of sexual harassment at work, you should know that you do not have to tolerate this behavior. Both state and federal laws prohibit employers from retaliating against an employee who makes a sexual harassment complaint. If you make a sexual harassment complaint to a superior and you are fired or otherwise “punished” for speaking up, you may have a valid retaliation claim.

Sexual Harassment is Not Always Easy to Recognize

In television and movies, sexual harassment is usually extremely blatant and obvious. However, real life examples of sexual harassment are not always easy to identify. For example, many people incorrectly assume that sexual harassment only involves unwelcome sexual advances or demands for sexual contact of some kind. However, sexual harassment can also include unfair treatment or derogatory comments or behavior which is directed toward someone because of their gender. A superior who makes disparaging remarks about men or women could be guilty of sexual harassment even if the comments were not actually sexual in nature.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneyEveryone deserves to work in a place that they feel safe and respected. Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be an issue in workplaces in Illinois as well as across the country. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by state and federal law.

The two main types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment harassment. Just as the name implies, hostile work environment harassment occurs when sexual or gender-related comments and behaviors become so intolerable, it makes an employee unable to do his or her job. However, it can be difficult to know exactly what types of actions constitute hostile work environment sexual harassment.

Examples of Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment

There are nearly countless actions which could be considered sexual harassment. Sometimes hostile work environment sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual or romantic advances. For example, if a person’s coworker constantly asks him or her on dates or makes comments like, “When are you going to finally go out with me?” this could potentially be harassment. Unwanted physical contact can also be considered sexual harassment. Employees who do not wish to be touched, hugged, or receive shoulder rubs or other physical contact should have the right to be free from such touching at work. Repeated inappropriate jokes or comments about a person’s body, sexuality, sexual orientation, or gender can also constitute sexual harassment.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysFor many of us, our career is more than just a paycheck. It is also what gives us purpose and helps us grow as a person. When you have worked hard to get a certain job, you may be willing to do almost anything to keep it. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of this and attempt to gain sexual favors from their employees. To be clear, asking an employee for sexual contact in exchange for workplace benefits is illegal sexual harassment. If you have faced this situation, you should know that you are not alone and that there are resources to help you.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment

The two main types of sexual harassment under the law are hostile work environment harassment and quid pro quo harassment. Quid pro quo is a Latin term which means “this for that.” Quid pro quo harassment occurs when an employer, boss, or supervisor attempts to trade sexual contact for work benefits. This type of harassment can happen when an employer makes sexual activity with a prospective employee a requirement for getting the job or it can happen when a current employee is solicited by a superior.

Sexual Harassment May Be Subtle

This type of harassment does not have to be explicit. Even the implication that sexual activity will result in work benefits or continued employment may be enough to meet the legal definition of sexual harassment. For example, if a boss makes a sexual advance toward an employee and says something like, “I know you cannot afford to lose your job,” it is reasonable to assume the boss means that he or she will fire the employee if the employee does not agree to the sexual contact.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_notebook-log-keeping-records.jpgExperiencing sexual harassment at work can be devastating both personally and professionally. Sadly, sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the United States and elsewhere, even after major strides have been taken to eradicate it. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment reports are up 14 percent as compared to last year.

If you have been harassed or discriminated against at work, you may be completely unsure of where to start. Sexual harassment is against the law, and no one should have to tolerate mistreatment at work. Often, one of the most important steps you can take when you are being sexually harassed is to keep a detailed sexual harassment log.

Keep a Log Even If You Do Not Plan to Pursue Compensation

A detailed record of any sexual harassment you have experienced is valuable even if you do not end up suing your employer. The first step you must take to stop the harassment from continuing is to file a formal sexual harassment complaint with your employer or supervisor. When you report the harassment, make sure to follow any procedures or policies set forth in your employee handbook.

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Illinois workplace discrimination attorneysWorkplace sexual harassment can be a tremendously stressful ordeal to endure. Not only do victims have to deal with the humiliation and tension caused by the actual harassment, they must also face the nerve-racking decision of whether or not to report the harassment. Some may wonder why a victim of sexual harassment would tolerate this unlawful mistreatment in lieu of filing a sexual harassment report. However, there are many reasons that victims of sexual harassment remain silent or refuse to come forward.

If you are being sexually harassed at work, you should know that you do not have to face the issue alone. An experienced sexual harassment lawyer can help you with everything from filing a report to seeking financial compensation for a wrongful termination.

Victims May Not Know What Constitutes Sexual Harassment

There are many misconceptions about what the term “sexual harassment” means. Some people mistakenly assume that only physical interactions constitute sexual harassment or that digital harassment “does not count” as harassment. In reality, any inappropriate behavior or language that is related to a person’s sex, gender, or physicality may be considered sexual harassment.

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