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Understanding the signs of sexual harassment in the workplace

Various issues could present themselves in the work environment. When employees in Minnesota struggle with certain actions by their co-workers or superiors, this could lead to a hostile work environment. When unwanted sexual advances are made, this could be an incident of sexual harassment and the worker does have options to get out of the situation. For some employees, these occurrences are not easily noticed, which leads to little to no action taken. It is important to be fully aware of the actions of others in the work place and to speak up about any concerns.

In order to fully establish whether an employee is a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, they should understand the forms they come in and what signs to look for. A recent report highlighted the fact that it is not simply an issue about gender, race or any other defining characteristic but rather a workplace rights issue. An employee has the right to be comfortable in the work environment and free from conduct that could be physically, emotionally and mentally threatening and humiliating.

There are some clear signs that employees should be aware of so they can take appropriate action. This is often sexual remarks, inappropriate touching, making sexual requests, sending graphic pictures or sending sexually explicit literature. Any of these instances would warrant the employee speaking out about these events and could even result in a sexual harassment suit.

Employees should also be familiar with what to do when it is established they are a victim of sexual harassment in the work environment. Reporting the incident to a supervisor is highly suggested. Placing others on notice of the unwanted conduct or sexual advances could initiate further investigation.

Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace is not an easy event to go through or speak out about. It can be embarrassing, humiliating and emotional. Being able to speak to someone about the incident is crucial because it could be a bigger problem than the employee might think. This could also lead to a civil suit if the employee is wrongfully terminated or endured damages or losses in the situation.

Source: U.S. News, "How to Recognize Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Heather Huhman, Nov. 11, 2011

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