Workplace sexual harassment is a serious issue that affects many people in various lines of work. It can have harmful effects on the victims, leading to emotional distress, career setbacks, and even physical harm. Even though it is far too common, there are still several myths about workplace sexual harassment that need to be debunked. For those who have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, a skilled attorney can provide guidance on the legal options that are available.
Myth 1: Sexual Harassment Only Occurs Between Opposite Genders
Contrary to popular belief, sexual harassment can occur between any combination of genders. It is not limited to interactions solely between men and women. Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Myth 2: Sexual Harassment Only Involves Physical Contact
Sexual harassment may include a wide range of behaviors beyond physical contact. Verbal comments, suggestive jokes or gestures, unwanted advances or requests for sexual favors, or displaying explicit materials in the workplace fall under the umbrella of sexual harassment. It is important to understand that any unwelcome behavior with a sexual nature can create a hostile work environment.
Myth 3: Victims May Provoke Harassers by Their Appearance or Behavior
No one ever asks for or deserves to be sexually harassed based on how they look or dress or the actions they take. The responsibility for sexual harassment lies solely with the harasser who chooses to engage in inappropriate conduct. Victim-blaming leads to harmful stereotypes, and it can weaken efforts to create workplaces that are safe and healthy for everyone.
Myth 4: Reporting Sexual Harassment Can Lead to Negative Consequences for the Victim’s Career
Fear of retaliation often prevents victims from reporting workplace sexual harassment. However, there are laws in place to protect victims who come forward. Employers have a legal obligation to investigate and address complaints of sexual harassment promptly. Retaliation against the victim is illegal, and it can result in severe consequences for the harasser and the employer.
Myth 5: Sexual Harassment Only Occurs in Certain Industries or Workplaces
Sexual harassment can happen in any industry, regardless of a company’s nature or size. It is not limited to specific professions or work environments. From corporate offices to restaurants, factories to educational institutions, no workplace is immune from this issue. Every employee deserves a safe and respectful working environment.
Myth 6: False Accusations of Sexual Harassment Are Common
The fear of false accusations should not overshadow the seriousness of actual incidents of sexual harassment. Research shows that false reports are rare, with estimates ranging from 2 percent to 10 percent. The focus should be on supporting victims who come forward rather than being skeptical of their claims.
Contact Our Wheaton Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers
If you have experienced workplace sexual harassment or need help understanding your rights as an employee, the team at Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC, is here to help. We understand the sensitive nature of these cases, and we will handle your matter with compassion, professionalism, and dedication. Contact our DuPage County sexual harassment attorneys today at 630-665-7300 to set up a consultation.