Sexual harassment is a form of illegal discrimination. While unlawful, sexual harassment continues to occur in DuPage County and throughout Illinois. Workplace sexual harassment falls into two broad categories: Quid pro quo harassment and hostile work environment.
Many people are unsure of what types of behaviors constitute sexual harassment. Some victims of sexual harassment convince themselves that they are overreacting or misunderstanding the situation. To be clear, anyone who feels threatened, offended, insulted, or demeaned at work should speak up. Even if the behavior has not yet crossed the line into sexual harassment, it is likely to escalate in the future, so it is best to report the behavior right away. That being said, people who have been victims of sexual harassment at work often experience the same types of feelings.
Red Flags You Are a Victim of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment can take countless forms. You may be a victim of sexual harassment if:
- You are afraid to say “no” to non-work-related requests –If you are being asked to go on dates or attend non-work-related events such as happy hour and are afraid to decline, this is a huge red flag.
- You are being touched in ways that make you uncomfortable – Hugs, pats on the back, and other forms of non-sexual physical contact are not necessarily sexual harassment. However, if you have asked not to be touched and you continue to be touched, this should be reported. Your physical boundaries should always be respected at work no matter what.
- You are bullied because of your gender, sexual orientation, or physical appearance – You deserve to be treated with respect. If you consistently find yourself subjected to sexually offensive jokes or remarks at work, this may be signs of a hostile work environment.
- You are experiencing anxiety, panic attacks, or other extreme emotions – Of course, not everyone who suffers from anxiety is being sexually harassed at work. However, if you consistently find yourself plagued by intense negative emotions at work due to another party’s derogatory or sexual actions, this is a sign that you may be the victim of sexual harassment.
- Harassment makes it impossible for you to do your job – Per federal law, hostile work environment harassment occurs when behavior is so “severe or pervasive enough” to make a work atmosphere that a rational person would find “intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you were sexually harassed at work or retaliated against after reporting harassment, contact a Wheaton sexual harassment attorney from MKFM Law for help. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.