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Beware of these workplace sexual harassment myths

It is unfortunate, but sexual harassment in the workplace still causes confusion - with people of both sexes scrambling to determine how actions are perceived. These misunderstandings can be blamed on the myths that many people still believe without knowing how damaging this can be.

As an employee, you should fully understand what these myths are and why these misconceptions still exist. In 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 6,796 sexual harassment charges which may suggest that workplaces and employers do not fully comprehend what sexual harassment is. Many times, a harasser believes they have done nothing wrong. However, that is not the case. Here are four key myths about sexual harassment that you should know.

4 Key Myths That Must Be Busted

  1. It was just a joke - This explanation is commonly used in the hope that a situation that may have turned tense or uncomfortable can suddenly be explained as a light-hearted comment. Regardless of how an action is interpreted, harassment is harassment and sexual jokes are one of the leading causes of harassment complaints. 
  2. You could have stopped the harassment - Victims are often blamed for not doing more to stop harassment that they are suffering. The fact is, victims usually feel intimidated or powerless at the time of the harassment. They may fear losing their job or being retaliated against since the harasser may hold power over them.
  3. They were asking for it - A harasser may say that their actions were brought on because of signals they were getting from the victim. These signals can range from having casual conversations, being nice or how the victim was dressed. Daily workplace behavior should not be used as an excuse to perpetrate harassment.
  4. Sexual harassment does not happen to men - Victims of harassment can be either men or women. If people believe that sexual harassment can come from only one sex, there will be a good chance a male victim will not come forward.

Myths have sneaky ways of finding their way into daily life and becoming a firmly held belief. Unfortunately, many times myths are used to cover-up the truth.

If you feel you are a victim of sexual harassment and have been met with any of the arguments listed above, you should contact an attorney who can answer all your questions and be an advocate on your behalf.

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