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Know which behaviors are considered sexual harassment in the workplace

As employees, all men and women have the right to feel comfortable in the workplace. Unfortunately, there are those who will prey on others and find opportunities to make them feel harassed and uncomfortable. Few are aware that sexual harassment violates the Civil Rights Act, and that they have the right to make a claim in any situation where there are 15 or more employees. The act does not have to be committed against individuals of the opposite sex. As long as the action is unwelcome, there may be a case for sexual harassment.

Many times, this behavior is subtle and comes on gradually, so it's hard to determine if you have a complaint or not. Other times, the behavior may come on strong and be obvious. If you are wondering if you have the right to file a sexual harassment claim, consider the following situations that constitute harassment.

Inappropriate joking

Your co-worker may think they are telling a harmless joke about your sex or sexual orientation, but in reality, any off-color jokes that make you uncomfortable may be considered sexual harassment.

Derogatory comments

During the lifetime of your employment, you may come across those who make mocking or disrespectful comments about your gender or sex. If this happens in the workplace, you may have the right to file a sexual harassment claim.

Sexual favors

As you work to move up the corporate ladder or get promotions in your company, you may be placed in an uncomfortable position despite your hard work. If you are ever asked to perform a sexual favor in exchange for some type of promotion, raise or sale, you should look into your company's policy on sexual harassment.

Physical touches

If you are uneasy about the way a co-worker or boss touches you during the workday, you may be a victim of sexual harassment. The touches don't even have to be sexual in nature. If they make you uncomfortable and the individual won't stop, you may need to take further action against the person.

Offensive images

In today's world, it's easy to share a p icture or email that contains offensive comments. In the cases where those images are displayed publicly, such as on a screensaver on a work computer, they can be considered sexual harassment.

Know your rights

As you perform your daily duties at your job, you have every right to feel comfortable and secure in the workplace. If you ever feel threatened or troubled by the acts of those around you, an attorney may be able to help you understand your options for improving your situation. 

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