You hear the term sexual harassment used all the time, but do you really know what it means? More specifically, do you know what constitutes sexual harassment in Washington? If you answered No to those questions, you are certainly not alone.
Generally speaking, sexual harassment is any unwelcome physical or verbal conduct directed at an employee because of their sex. That intentionally vague description highlights the fact that Washington workplace sexual harassment scenarios are not usually black, and white and what is acceptable conduct and what is unacceptable conduct is determined on a case by case basis. As varied as the jobs throughout the state are, sexual harassment can take many forms.
The first thing to know about sexual harassment is that it is illegal and if you feel like you have been the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you should get in touch with a Washington employment law attorney to learn about your options and whether your case actually rises to the level of sexual harassment. On a similar vein, if you are an employer and want to ensure that this type of behavior does not take place in your company, working with an attorney can help put educational policies in place to hopefully take away any incidences of harassment.
Considered a form of employment discrimination in Washington, both men and women can experience this illegal behavior; and contrary to popular opinion, no touching has to take place for harassment to occur.
Here are some important things to know about workplace sexual harassment in Washington:
· Same Sex Sexual Harassment: The majority of sexual harassment cases you hear about are likely between a man and a woman. Just because those instances are more common does not mean that same sex sexual harassment (man to man or woman to woman) is any less illegal.
· Male sexual harassment: Not only can men in Washington be the victim of workplace sexual harassment, it is a growing problem.
· Title Doesn’t Matter: Again, just because the common scenario usually depicts a male boss making unwanted sexual advances or demanding sexual activity in exchange for promotions, does not mean that an employer cannot be a victim of sexual harassment. The title of an employee does not matter when it comes to workplace sexual harassment. It is not just the boss that can be on the giving end, there are many instances in which an employer is the victim.
Your workplace should be an environment where you are free to be yourself and you should not feel like you have to engage in sexual behavior to get the promotion you want or keep your job your job. Furthermore, you should not dread going into work (unless, of course that is over the amount of work you have to do) because of the comments your boss or coworkers make towards you.