Working in a nice office with a great salary and other perks sounds like a dream, but if your colleagues and supervisors don’t have good intentions, it can quickly become a nightmare.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is sadly commonplace. In 2016 alone, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 6,758 claims from employees who experienced sexual harassment and fined companies about $4o million as a result. Only 35 percent of sexual harassment incidents are reported, so the actual number of claims should be much higher.
Unwanted physical touch is definitely sexual harassment, but you can be harassed without being physically close to someone. Lewd jokes, gender-based slurs and sexual innuendos are all harassment, and it’s against the law.
While most victims who report sexual harassment are female, between 10 and 20 percent of men have experienced harassment at work. Only 21 percent are willing to speak up, which means that the number could be even higher than we think it is.
Additionally, people are much more likely to be harassed by a supervisor or manager than a fellow coworker. The power imbalance makes it harder to let HR know what’s happening — no one wants to put their job at risk. Sexual harassment is rampant everywhere, even in the military, but that doesn’t mean it’s okay. You have a right to feel comfortable and safe.