Being a victim of harassment at work puts you in a very difficult position. You may enjoy your job, but someone’s unwanted behavior is interfering with your work performance or someone may be creating a hostile work environment for you. Perhaps your supervisor is the one harassing you, and has made a tangible change in your employment status or benefits (such as in a demotion, a termination or failure to promote). You know you need to do something, but you may be afraid it will cost you your job and future prospects.
What Qualifies as Harassment and Sexual Harassment?
First of all, you should know what constitutes harassment. Harassment on the job can take many forms. It may include use of racially derogatory words or comments about someone’s skin color. It may be pictures or gestures that offend a particular racial or ethnic group. Harassment occurs when disparaging comments are made about someone’s gender, religious beliefs (or lack of), birthplace, ancestry, age (someone over 40) or mental or physical impairment.
Sexual harassment may include staring in a sexually suggestive manner, making offensive remarks about looks, clothing or body parts, touching in a way that makes someone feel uncomfortable (patting, pinching or brushing up against someone), telling sexual or lewd jokes, displaying sexual posters, making sexual gestures and sending, forwarding or soliciting sexually suggestive letters, notes, emails or images.
Your first course of action is to report an incident of harassment to your supervisor, any member of management and/or the Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity. Your employer should take your complaint seriously, and you should notice some form of action that is meant to stop the harassment.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your complaints to your employer and the harassment continues, the attorneys at Maya Murphy have extensive experience with employment law, including sexual harassment cases. We can assess your case and guide you through the litigation process. Please call us at 203-221-3100, or e-mail us at Ask@Mayalaw.com to schedule a complimentary consultation.