Employees have certain rights, including the right to be free from harassment and discrimination at work. Despite continued efforts to eradicate harassment and discriminatory practices from American workplaces, sexual harassment continues to be a problem. Every worker should be aware of his or her rights and know the signs of sexual harassment. The greater number of people who stand up against unlawful harassment, the closer we get to eliminating this problem.
What Counts as Sexual Harassment?
Many people ask whether certain behaviors constitute sexual harassment. To be clear, employees should speak up about any behavior that makes them feel uncomfortable. That being said, federal law breaks sexual harassment down into two main categories. Using a position or authority to coerce sexual favors from an employee is called “quid pro quo” sexual harassment. Hostile work environment sexual harassment involves severe or pervasive conduct that creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment.
What Should I Do About Sexual Harassment?
If you are sexually harassed at work, report the harassment in writing immediately. Follow the reporting procedures listed in your employee handbook. Additionally, keep a sexual harassment log in which you record each instance of harassment, exactly what happened, and who was witness to the harassment. Write down the dates and time of each incident. If your employer does not take corrective action and resolve the problem, you may need to file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). If you are issued a “right to sue” letter by the IDHR, you may file a civil claim against your employer....