Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
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"My boss pulled me in and hugged me, I then pushed him off and told him to not touch me as his manner was aggressive."
"I was horrified, but I didn't know what to do."
"I went to my manager to discuss this because obviously I felt quite angry and uncomfortable. I was greeted with the notion that I, as a “pretty young thing”, encouraged it."
"I felt trapped."
We hear these stories every day. Approximately one in eight women reported unwanted sexual touching of their body or attempts to kiss them at work, according to a recent study by the Trades Union Congress and the Everyday Sexism Project. Almost a fifth said they had been harassed by their boss or someone else with authority over them. But four in five women said they did not report the incidents to their employers, with many fearing that it would harm their relationships at work or that they would not be taken seriously.
We will take you seriously.
It is unlawful to discriminate or harass a person because of that person's sex. Harassment can include "sexual harassment" or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person's sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general. Both the victim and the harasser can be either a man or a woman, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
Although the law doesn't prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted). Sexual harassment can include pornography, offensive jokes, sexual bullying, repeated touching, etc.
In many instances, the law may require a victim of sexual harassment to lodge a complaint with his or her employer before bringing a sexual harassment claim to a government agency or a court. Failing to complain and/or quitting your job may result in a forfeiture of legal rights.