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One sexual harassment incident is all it takes

Often, people who are facing sexual harassment are told to talk directly to the offender the first time, asking him or her to stop. For example, a co-worker may think comments about your body are charming, while you really find them offensive. You could be told to ask the co-worker to stop, explaining that you don't like it.

While this is fine, it's important to note that, in many cases, it only takes one sexual harassment incident for you to have a case against your co-worker.

For example, the case may show that the harassment was linked to whether or not you were hired in the first place. If you denied advances from an interviewer and so weren't given the job, that can be enough on its own.

Additionally, if the case is quite severe, it only takes one incident. This generally means things that go beyond remarks and comments. In some situations, these severe cases could also be grounds for a criminal case for sexual assault. Naturally, every case is different.

Most often, severe cases are those that are physical in nature.

Typically, an isolated minor incident—like a joke made at your expense—doesn't show that you are facing a hostile work environment. This is when employees are told to work matters out within the workplace, as these things are often easily solved. If the behavior continues, though, that's when it becomes a hostile work environment.

Have you been experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, either in an isolated severe manner or in a repeated, minor fashion? If so, make sure you know about your legal options in Michigan.

Source: AAUW, "Know Your Rights: Workplace Sexual Harassment," accessed Dec. 02, 2015

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