Time Magazine’s "Person of the Year" Pays Tribute to Victims of Sexual Assault
The issue of sexual harassment has never before been talked about with the candor and seriousness that it has been of recently. Allegations of sexual harassment that were made against many high-powered individuals such as President Donald Trump, Senator Al Franken, and film producer Harvey Weinstein, have started a fury of backlash against perpetrators of sexual abuse, both famous and unknown. In fact, Time Magazine recently announced that its prestigious “Person of the Year” designation goes to the “silence breakers”: Those brave individuals who came forward with their stories of sexual harassment and started a movement. Women and men of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels are reporting past instances of sexual harassment, assault, and other sexual misconduct.
What Is Sexual Harassment?
Sometimes the terms sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, inappropriate behavior, and abuse are used incorrectly or interchangeably. It can be confusing to know exactly what the law is. Sexual harassment is technically a form of sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 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." Sexual harassment can include behaviors such as:
- Offering an employee or co-worker a raise or promotion in exchange for sexual interaction;
- Threatening to fire or punish an employee if he or she does not cooperate with the perpetrator’s sexual advances;
- Making inappropriate sexual remarks about a person’s body or physical features;
- Telling inappropriate sexual jokes and making sexual innuendos;
- Sending unwanted suggestive emails or notes;
- Staring at a person in a sexual way or making sexual gestures towards someone;
- Making derogatory comments about a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity;
- Touching someone in a way which is inappropriate for the workplace including kissing, hugging, pinching, petting, or otherwise forcing unwanted physical contact;
- Sharing sexually inappropriate images or videos, including pornography, with coworkers; and
- Displaying sexual images at work such as inappropriate screen savers, computer desktop backgrounds, or photographs.
Sexual harassment may take other forms as well. If something is happening at work that makes you feel threatened, uncomfortable, embarrassed, or distressed, you may be experiencing sexual harassment. Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected at work, and there is no excuse for sexual harassment in the workplace.
Let Us Help
At Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, we know that sexual harassment can be devastating to victims of it. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, contact one of our compassionate Illinois sexual harassment attorneys for guidance. Call 630-665-7300 for a completely confidential free initial consultation today.