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What To Do When My Boss Is Talking To Me Inappropriately

by | May 27, 2024 | Sexual Harassment

What To Do When My Boss Is Talking To Me Inappropriately

Sexual harassment. It’s a term most people associate with blatant situations – a boss demanding sexual favors, unwanted physical contact, or crude comments about someone’s appearance. But the reality is far more nuanced. Sexual harassment can take many subtle forms, creating a hostile work environment for countless employees.

This blog post delves deeper into sexual harassment, exploring lesser-known situations that constitute unwelcome sexual advances and highlighting what you can do if you experience them.

Common Examples: Recognizing Sexual Harassment You Might Expect

Let’s establish a baseline with some well-known examples of sexual harassment:

  • Quid pro quo: When a supervisor offers a promotion in exchange for sexual favors, or threatens job security if advances are rejected.
  • Leering or sexual comments: Constant objectification or inappropriate remarks about someone’s body.
  • Physical assault: Unwelcome touching, groping, or any form of sexual violence.

These scenarios are clear violations, but harassment can manifest in more subtle ways too.

Beyond the Obvious: Lesser-Known Forms of Sexual Harassment

Here are some everyday situations that might not be immediately recognized as sexual harassment:

  • Crude Jokes and Sexual Bragging: Jokes with sexual themes or graphic descriptions of personal sexual encounters can create a hostile environment for those who feel uncomfortable.
  • Sexually Explicit Content: Coworkers displaying inappropriate images or videos, creating a work environment saturated with sexual undertones.
  • Suggestive Comments About Clothing: Remarks focusing on someone’s attire in a sexualized manner, making them feel self-conscious about their appearance.
  • Non-Verbal Harassment: Lewd gestures or facial expressions aimed at someone, creating an intimidating or disrespectful atmosphere.

Remember, sexual harassment isn’t limited to the workplace.

  • After-Hours Encounters: Even if your boss makes suggestive comments while socializing outside of work hours, it can be considered sexual harassment if it makes you feel uncomfortable at work.

It’s Not Just About You: Witnessing and Reporting Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment doesn’t require you to be the direct target. If you overhear a manager pressuring an employee for sexual favors in exchange for a promotion, you can report it. This creates a safer environment for everyone in the workplace.

It’s important to differentiate between sexual harassment and other forms of offensive behavior. A comment about someone’s religious attire might be insensitive but not necessarily sexual in nature. However, if the comment sexualizes their religious clothing, that could be considered harassment.

Taking Action: What You Can Do

If you face sexual harassment, here are some crucial steps:

  1. Document Everything: Keep a detailed record of incidents, including dates, times, specific actions (verbal or physical), and any witnesses present. These details are vital evidence.
  2. Report the Harassment: Follow your company’s protocol for reporting harassment. This might involve informing your supervisor, Human Resources, or a trusted colleague.
  3. Seek Legal Advice: An experienced employment lawyer can advise you on your legal rights and potential courses of action, including filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or pursuing a lawsuit.

When the Source is Your Boss: Protecting Yourself From Supervisor Harassment

Facing harassment from a superior can feel especially daunting. However, you still have options:

  • Politely Correct Misunderstandings: If the behavior seems unintentional, consider a polite correction in the moment, focusing on how the comment made you feel rather than accusing them of wrongdoing.
  • Report to HR: If the behavior persists, file a complaint with HR. This creates a record and protects you if retaliation occurs.
  • Consult an Attorney: An employment attorney can provide guidance on your legal options and ensure your rights are protected.

Remember: You have the right to feel safe and respected at work. Don’t hesitate to speak up and seek help if you experience sexual harassment.

Additional Resources

By understanding the different forms of sexual harassment and the resources available to you, you can empower yourself and ensure a safe work environment for everyone.