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Scope of what constitutes sexual harassment may surprise some

News headlines across the nation seem to be filled with stories of sexual harassment in the workplace, particularly those in high-profile industries and businesses. Of course, sexual harassment can occur in any workplace no matter how big or small. Employees in Jackson may even know of someone who has been sexually harassed in the workplace, or they may even have been victims of sexual harassment themselves. That being said, many people may have misconceptions about what constitutes sexual harassment. This post will attempt to shed some light on what sexual harassment in the workplace looks like, and some people might be surprised at the scope of the situation.

First of all, not all victims of sexual harassment are women. Men can also be victims of sexual harassment. Similarly, not all harassers are men -- women can also commit acts of sexual harassment. Also, it is entirely possible for a man to sexually harass another man or for a woman to sexually harass another woman.

Also, it is not always those who are in a position of power that commit sexual harassment. While sometimes the harasser is a person's direct supervisor, a supervisor in another part of the company could sexually harass someone that they are not in charge of. Moreover, co-workers could sexually harass other co-workers and even non-employees could commit sexual harassment.

In addition, a person could be a victim of sexual harassment even if the harassment was not directed at them. It could be anyone who has had a negative experience due to the offensive actions. Similarly, a person need not suffer financial harm or be fired in order to claim they were sexually harassed.

In the end, the acts of sexual harassment must be unwelcome. Sexual harassment includes requests for sex acts, sexual advances and other words or actions of a sexual nature. It rises to the level of harassment when it affects the victim's employment, work performance or makes the workplace offensive or hostile. Those in Jackson who believe they have been sexually harassed at work may want to contact an attorney in order to learn how to proceed.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," accessed Oct. 15, 2017

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