The difference between sexual harassment and flirting is not as clear as many people think. You might be thinking that your co-worker is flirting with you when the reality is that they are sexually harassing you. Often, it starts as flirting, but then it turns into sexual harassment.
So, how can you know that a co-worker is sexually harassing you and not flirting with you? Read on to find out.
When Does Flirting Become Sexual Harassment?
According to experts, flirting becomes sexual harassment when an individual goes too far, whether through what they say or do when the other person clearly does not want it. Unlike flirting, which is welcome and wanted, sexual harassment is unwanted and unwelcome. Flirting becomes sexual harassment when it becomes one-sided.
Suppose you were initially flirting with a co-worker, then it got to a point where you told them you did not want to continue flirting. In such a case, your co-worker should have stopped making advances. If they continued making unwelcome advances after you told them you did not want to continue flirting, you are a victim of sexual harassment. Sexual harrassment, according to the EEOC, involves unwelcome and unwanted sexual advances. Because flirting is sexual, when it becomes unwelcome and unwanted, it is considered sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment is Unlawful
Whereas flirting is lawful, sexual harassment is unlawful. According to the EEOC, harassment is illegal when it is so severe or frequent that it creates a hostile work environment. If you have been feeling worried about going to work since you do not know what your co-worker will say or do next, or because your co-worker’s behavior makes doing your job impossible, you are a victim of sexual harassment. Your co-worker is not flirting with you. Instead, they are sexually harassing you.
Steps to Take if a Co-worker is Sexually Harassing You at Work
If you just realized that the co-worker you thought was flirting with you is actually sexually harassing you, you might be asking yourself what you should do.
So, what should you do if a co-worker or boss is sexually harassing you? First of all, you need to document the harassment. It is crucial that you keep a record of all harassment instances. Documentation can help you if you decide to take legal action. It is also vital that you report the harassment according to your company’s policy. If you do not feel safe reporting, you can report anonymously. However, you should not feel worried about getting fired because of reporting workplace sexual harassment. There are laws in place that protect workers from being retaliated against for reporting workplace sexual harassment. Lastly, you should talk to a qualified and trustworthy lawyer if you are a victim of sexual harassment.
You do not have to put up with your co-workers’ behavior. You do not have to keep going to work feeling worried about what your co-worker will say or do next. Sexual harassment is never alright, and you do not deserve to be going through it.
Contact the Trabosh Law Firm
If your co-worker or boss is sexually harassing you at work, make sure you report the harassment and seek legal advice. Do not hesitate to contact the Trabosh Law Firm at (856) 874-8840 to get the legal guidance that you need.