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How to know if you are being sexually harassed

Many sexual harassment incidents that happen in workplaces across Indianapolis go unreported. Victims often do not say anything because they fear retaliation from their offenders and bosses. Some individuals ignore it because they assume that it is a common occurrence everywhere. Sexual discrimination is not only against the law, but it is also offensive and can turn your job environment from a pleasant one into a hostile one.

Do not let your lack of knowledge about sexual harassment make you a victim. Learn how to identify harassing behavior so you can stop it.

Inappropriate physical contact

If your employer or a coworker touches you in an inappropriate or sexual manner, they are violating your personal space and victimizing you sexually. Whether it is a touch on your hand, breast, back or some other area of your body, if the contact is intentional and uninvited, there is a problem.

Sexually suggestive communications

If you hear conversations that contain sexually derogatory and suggestive comments about someone else or you are the target of them, you are experiencing sexual harassment. Witnesses of workplace sexual harassment are also affected by it and can benefit from reporting it. These events create negative and hostile work environments that are full of stress and lead to lower employee productivity, an increase in call-offs and chronic illness.

No does not deter the offender

When you are on the receiving end of harassment you should tell the offender no and that you are not interested in going out with him or her and you do not want to engage in any implicit and explicit sexual conversations and activities. If that individual refuses to take no for an answer and continues to make unwanted and unsolicited advances toward you, they may resort to bullying you.

Bullying can occur when sexual aggressors take actions that affect your rights as an employee, such as denying you a promotion, passing you over for a raise and treating you unfairly. They may also have sexual conversations about you with others and send emails and make posters that are sexually demeaning to you. They may even make inappropriate gestures, use offensive body language and target you in other ways.

There is a fine line between acceptable workplace behavior and sexual harassment and discrimination. Any time you experience a situation that objectifies you sexually, you should document and report it. Do not let your fear of retaliation or termination deter you.

You have the right to work in a harassment-free environment. Federal law offers protections so you can achieve that. If you are being sexually harassed or are exposed to it at your job, you should speak to an attorney to learn your options.

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