Sexual harassment is when unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other advances of a sexual nature create a hostile work environment or amount to quid pro quo. A hostile work environment arises when the harassment is severe or pervasive enough to affect the conditions of employment. On the other hand, sexual harassment amounts to quid pro quo if it involves a demand for a sexual favor in exchange for a workplace benefit. Both state and federal laws prohibit sexual harassment in the workplace. Unfortunately, while workplace sexual harassment is not permitted by law, it continues to be a major problem.
Being sexually harassed at work can adversely affect an employee. Sexual harassment victims can suffer emotionally, physically, professionally, and financially. Below, we discuss more on how workplace sexual harassment can affect victims. Also, read on to learn about the steps to take if you are experiencing workplace sexual harassment.
Effects of Workplace Sexual Harassment
The following are some of the ways workplace sexual harassment can affect victims;
Physical and Emotional Effects
Employees who experience sexual harassment often suffer physical and emotional harm. Physical effects of workplace sexual harassment include headaches, panic reactions/phobias, nightmares/sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, weight changes, nausea, and sexual problems. Emotional problems that employees who experience sexual harassment in the workplace can suffer include depression, anxiety, fear, frustration, shock, insecurity, embarrassment, confusion, guilt, self-blame, low self-esteem, isolation, self-consciousness, and feelings of being powerless.
Workplace sexual harassment can also cause professional problems. A sexual harassment victim’s job performance or productivity may go down. This can lead to the employee’s career trajectory being adversely affected. Also, a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace is more likely to be absent, neglect duties, tardy, and distracted.
An employee who decides to report workplace sexual harassment risks facing retaliation. While retaliation is against the law, the truth is that some employers do retaliate against employees who report sexual harassment. Workplace retaliation includes termination, demotion, being passed over for a promotion, low or negative performance evaluations, salary, wages, or benefits reductions, and being transferred to a less desirable position.
Victims of sexual harassment may also face financial problems. If, for example, an employee decides to quit their job because of fear, they may experience financial problems because of lost wages. A victim of workplace sexual harassment may also experience financial problems when they have to spend money on medical expenses.
Steps to Take if You are a Victim of Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you should know you have legal rights. You have the right to seek justice and monetary compensation through a sexual harassment claim. To protect your rights, the following are some of the steps you should take if you are facing workplace sexual harassment;
- Let the harasser know the conduct is unwelcome. However, only talk to the person directly if you feel safe doing so.
- Report the harassment if it persists, ensuring you follow the company’s internal reporting procedures
- Document all the harassing interactions
- Consult with a qualified employment lawyer
Contact Us for Legal Help
If you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment, contact our skilled and dedicated New Jersey employment lawyer at The Trabosh Law Firm for legal help.