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How can students address sexual harassment in the workplace?

During college, students often work part-time jobs or obtain a professional internship. While some workings students worry this will put them at a disadvantage, others may be more concerned about how they will be treated due to their sex.

How can students address sexual harassment in the workplace? Oftentimes, it very difficult to talk about such matters when they occur in the workplace. However, like any other employees, students in the workplace, whether paid or unpaid, are afforded rights regarding mistreatment and discrimination.

Sex discrimination in the workplace can be described as unwanted sexual advances, sexual comments, touching and seeking sexual favors. In some situations, students in the workplace may feel taken advantage of because they are young and seeking professional experience.

Because it is an uncomfortable situation, some college students do not know how to properly deal with sexual harassment. A recent survey estimated that only 1 in every 3 teens reports being sexually harassed at work. It is believed that the actually number of occurrences is much higher because young workers are less likely to report sexual abuse than older employees.

While this event puts an individual in a vulnerable position, young employees suffering sexual harassment in the workplace should understand the rights afforded to them under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Student employees have the right to speak out about the harassment, helping them put an end to it. Moreover, depending on the situation, the young employee may even have a cause of action that could help them recover compensation for the damages suffered.

Source: College.usatoday.com, "Know your rights: What students can do about sexual harassment in the workplace," Alexandra Samuels, March 6, 2015

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