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How do you recognize sexual harassment in the workplace?

Do you know what sexual harassment really looks like? It isn't always obvious if you are not the one experiencing it. If you would like to protect your employees or coworkers, you'll need to know what to look out for and how to act.

What can sexual harassment look like?

Sexual harassment can take hundreds of forms. Most notably, it can make one person feel extremely uncomfortable and the other person feel powerful. Not every victim wants to file a complaint about sexual harassment to their employers, so it is important to know how to recognize it.

Some sexual harassment comes in the form of unwelcome attention in a sexual context. Sometimes it creates a hostile work environment, but it might also happen after hours. People may be of the same or the opposite gender or sexuality.

Sexual harassment can affect a person's performance and conduct at work. They might remain very quiet or isolate themselves from certain groups or opportunities. Even if they did not suffer a termination or demotion, they could still recover damages from lost work as a result.

What can you do if you witness sexual harassment?

State and federal law mandates that an employer review any sexual harassment complaints filed against one of their employees. However, not everyone knows what to do if they witness it happening or know that a coworker suffering.

Rather than relying on corporate training, your company or employer could also invest in bystander training. These seminars and programs teach phrases and intervention techniques that empower victims and helps to diffuse tense situations.

If sexual harassment happens in your workplace, you will need to act to protect the victim and other employees. If you are the victim, you may be entitled to compensation.

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