When Your Workplace Becomes Miserable

Often, it's not just a job. For those who love the work they do, coming in every day is a positive affirmation of a goal achieved and of personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, there may come a time when you are loathe to set foot through your office door. When you are the victim of sexual harassment, it can make you feel miserable both on the job and at home, so read on to learn how to cope with this problem and how to put an end to harassment at work.

How are you being harassed? There are really two main types of sexual harassment, so take a look and identify how you are being victimized.

Work Environment: This type of harassment can involve multiple people or actions at the same time. The harassment here is subtle, often involving sexually-explicit jokes being told or emailed, inappropriate artwork or calendars and more. This can also be taken a step further, with the harasser touching you in a sexual or too-personal manner. If it's unwanted, it's inappropriate.

Something for Something: Quid Pro Quo, in this context, means you must do something for me and I'll do something for you or I'll punish you for not playing along. As you might guess, this type of harassment is usually perpetrated by someone who is in a superior position to you and has the power to affect your career in a positive or negative manner. For example, if a supervisor has asked you out on a date and you are now suffering from negative work-related consequences as a result of your refusal, you are probably the victim of Quid Pro Quo harassment.

Take Action: Make no mistake, any of these actions are illegal and should not be tolerated. Don't just hope that it will stop on its own; it almost never does. Instead, take the following actions as soon as you notice something is amiss:

  • Keep notes about any unwanted advances or actions from co-workers or supervisors.
  • Be very clear with the perpetrator that you are offended by their actions and that you will take further action if they don't cease.
  • Report unwanted sexual advances and hostile work environment problems to your supervisor (or to their supervisor if need be).
  • File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Speak to a workers compensation attorney. It may only take a warning letter to bring about change, but threatening a lawsuit can be a powerful motivator.