If someone has made you feel uncomfortable at work in Michigan, you may question whether or not their behavior qualifies as harassment. Contrary to what many people believe, sexual harassment is not only a physical offense.
Knowing which behaviors count as sexual harassment in the workplace can help you identify when you need to report a concern or file a complaint.
Lewd commentary and stories
If a coworker asks to tell you a story and then continues with a lewd description of a personal experience or something sexual in nature, you may feel uncomfortable and embarrassed. Inappropriate commentary directed at you or others could set the foundation for a hostile work environment. These types of behaviors may not only cause offense but can quickly deteriorate productivity and morale.
Even if lewd remarks are not directed toward you, if you witness repeated inappropriate behavior, you have the right to feel uncomfortable. Whether you are a direct or indirect victim of such behavior, you have the right to report concerns about sexual harassment. According to U.S. News, the EEOC protects you against retaliation if you file a claim.
Inappropriate communication or displays
As part of your job, you probably communicate on a regular basis with other coworkers. This correspondence could occur via email, text or other methods. If you notice inappropriate language or requests for sexual favors within these communications, you are the victim of harassment. Likewise, if you notice that a coworker has inappropriate posters, pictures or other displays around the workspace, you can report that as well.
Equally important to note, if a coworker continues to ask you on a date even after you have repeatedly declined, this behavior qualifies as harassment too. Protecting your rights is much more effective when you immediately report concerning behavior. You deserve to feel safe and valued when you go to work and sexual harassment should not undermine your experience.