April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. In bringing awareness to this issue we at AUI wanted to give you some information about sexual harassment in the workplace. AUI works to bring these types of resources to their employer groups and individuals. Please contact us if you would like to know more about the services we provide.
Below is a brief summary of information you can distribute to your employees about sexual harassment in the workplace.
All individuals have a right to work in an environment free of sexual harassment and hostility. Here is what you need to know.
What is considered harassment?
Sexual harassment is legally defined as “unwelcome verbal, visual or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is severe or pervasive and affects working conditions or creates a hostile working environment.”
This can include a broad variety of behaviors and comments, and anyone can be a harasser, regardless of gender or position in the company. Examples of sexual harassment could include:
- Comments about appearance or sexual jokes that make a person uncomfortable
- Derogatory or inappropriate gestures
- Unwanted physical contact
- Emails or posters of a sexual nature
- Comments or jokes specific to gender, such as “this is a man’s job” or “women belong in the kitchen”
- Being fired, demoted or refused a promotion because you reject a sexual advance or request for a date
- Simple teasing or offhand comments that are so frequent or severe that they create a hostile work environment for one or more individuals
Sexual harassment is against the law and our company will not tolerate it. Retaliating against someone who reports sexual harassment is also illegal. If you report harassment in good faith, you will not face any retaliation or adverse actions that will impact your job.
If you think you have been harassed
It is vital that you tell the person that the comment or behavior offends you or makes you uncomfortable. Firmly tell him or her to stop. Write down everything that happens, including dates, times, places and people involved. Also, report the incident(s) to your supervisor or HR immediately. The company will conduct a thorough investigation and take action to stop any harassment that is verified.