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Strategies to combat sexual harassment in the workplace

It’s not your fault. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, always remember that it’s not your fault. Sexual harassment has gained a great deal of attention lately in the high-profile white-collar world, but this crisis is also prevalent among blue-collar workplaces such as in the hotel and food industries.

The restaurant industry in particular has been notorious for its widespread tolerance of sexual harassment, but this is changing. Still, some of the industry’s workers don’t know what is considered sexual harassment in the workplace or even how to report it.

 

Signs of sexual harassment

For starters, incidents of sexual harassment can be:

  • Sexually-charged comments
  • Inappropriate stares
  • Unwanted touching
  • Open hostility
  • Verbal abuse
  • Violence
  • Rape and assault

A number of sexual harassment incidents go unreported because victims fear retaliation. In the cases of some workers, their paycheck may be the only one being brought home for the family. They may fear losing their jobs, getting demoted or being scheduled fewer hours.

Strategies for dealing with sexual harassment

Here are some strategies that will help you if ever faced with sexual harassment in the workplace:

  • Confront the harasser if it's safe to do so and assertively tell them to stop his or her behavior.
  • Keep records of what happened. Include the time, location, description of incident, and names of witnesses.
  • Confide in someone. It’s likely that you are not the only victim in this workplace.
  • Follow your company’s guidelines for reporting harassment and seek outside help if your claim falls on deaf ears.

Yes, you will need courage to get through such trying times. There may be struggles. There may be tears, but you eventually will overcome being the victim of sexual harassment. Society is becoming more aware of this problem, and we know that there’s no room for sexual harassment in the workplace or anywhere else.

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