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Let’s Talk About Sexual Harassment

Its 2017, the year of speaking up and out. Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Ben Affleck, George H.W. Bush– a few examples of men who have been accused of sexually harassing their female/male coworkers or just a stranger. A big reason why these victims waited to speak up was due to the fact that these are men in powerful positions, but it wasn’t worth burying their emotional well being for any consequences. Personally, I think: What is there to lose? By speaking up and using your voice, you are bringing justice to an inappropriate act that has impacted if not thousands but millions of men and women in the United States. This is not your fault, and this should not be a burden to you. To all of you that aren’t victims, be clear of the boundaries and what exactly consists as sexual harassment.


According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which applies to employers with 15 or more employees. What counts as sexual harassment is: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that would affect someone’s (either male or female’s) work performance and creates a hostile work environment. Anyone can experience sexual harassment from any person, meaning it doesn’t have to just come from the opposite gender. If the sexual conduct is agreed upon or consented, then it’s welcome and it’s no longer harassment. Some examples of sexual harassment would be: sexual jokes, hugging or kissing (without your permission), gestures, massages, touching a person’s body, and/or rumors being spread about someone’s sex life.


So what if you’re experiencing these kinds of situations at work? First, be vocal about saying “no”. Make it known and aware that this isn’t something that you are agreeing to. Normally, once this is said, the employee committing these inappropriate actions will stop. Then, write down every single detail along with dates and times the incident happened. You may forget a detail here and there so that way, if this happens again, you have concrete evidence of this misconduct. Lastly, report this to your supervisor or someone with authority to stop the harassment. Report this in writing, and keep a copy so that way you have a copy of the report so in the future, employers can be held accountable about these situations (www.lawyers.com).


If you ever feel uncomfortable, don’t hesitate to speak up. Your voice matters. No matter what your position is in your organization or career, you are an integral part that makes a company whole.


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