Not everyone feels comfortable in their place of employment. This feeling of discomfort could come about for various reasons, some of which may be personal, and others could stem from the way co-workers or management treat employees. You may have felt uneasy on the job more times than you can count, and often, that feeling stems from inappropriate actions from others in the workplace.
At first, you may have thought (or hoped) that your co-workers or managers were simply making jokes or trying to have fun in the workplace when they made you feel uncomfortable. However, as time has gone on, you believe that they are sexually harassing you. Understandably, you want that behavior to end.
Are you sure it is harassment?
It can be difficult to determine whether the treatment you experience truly falls into the category of sexual harassment. You certainly want to ensure that you have cause to complain before moving forward with a formal report. Of course, any time you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in the workplace, it is wise to inform a superior. You may have experienced sexual harassment on the job if any of the following scenarios have affected you:
- Co-workers or managers sent you sexually suggestive videos, emails, photos or notes.
- You received sexual comments about your clothing, body or overall appearance from others in the workplace.
- Co-workers or superiors asked inappropriate questions in the workplace, such as about your sexual history or preferences.
- Others at your place of employment subjected you to unwanted physical contact, which could include purposefully brushing against you, patting you, rubbing you or pinching you.
- Sexually charged jokes, especially at your expense, could also constitute sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, this list does not show every action that could fall into this category. You may have experienced other behaviors with a sexual connotation not listed here that could also constitute harassment.
What can you do?
First, it is wise to approach your superior or human resources department to discuss your concerns. Your employee handbook should hopefully include information on how to file a complaint of this sort. Your employer should then take steps to investigate your complaint and take disciplinary action as needed.
In the event that your employer does not take your complaint seriously or does nothing to change the harassing behaviors present in the workplace, you may have reason to take additional action. Discussing your options with a knowledgeable Kentucky employment law attorney could help you better understand how to move forward.