Share on Facebook
Share on X
Share on LinkedIn
By Louise Herman

As an employee, you have the right to work without fear of suffering harassment of any kind, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is prohibited in the workplace by law, and you should report such behavior as soon as it occurs. In this article, we explain how to recognize and report sexual harassment. 

Recognizing Sexual Harassment

There are two broad forms of sexual harassment: (1) quid pro quo and (2) hostile work environment. Quid pro quo occurs when an employer offers an employee some kind of benefit in exchange for sexual favors. A hostile work environment, on the other hand, generally consists of sexual words or behaviors by employers or co-workers that make a person feel uncomfortable or unsafe. Examples of sexual harassment in the workplace include: 

  • A manager offering an employee benefits in exchange for sexual favors
  • A manager threatening an employee with retaliation if they fail to comply with requests for sexual favors
  • Physical contact of a sexual nature
  • Displaying sexual images 
  • Use of sexual language 
  • Making sexual jokes 
  • Commenting on an employee’s physical appearance or body 
  • Discussing sexual activity 
  • Making sexual gestures 
  • Repeatedly asking for dates 
  • Asking questions about sexual orientation or anatomy 
  • Making derogatory sexual comments

Reporting Sexual Harassment

If you are a victim of sexual harassment, you should consider taking the following steps: 

Tell the Harasser to Stop

First, you should request that the harasser cease his or her behavior. Often, this is the most effective way of addressing sexual harassment. However, if you are concerned for your personal safety, you should avoid confronting the harasser and move on to the next step. 

Inform Your Supervisor

If speaking with the harasser doesn’t stop the behavior, or you choose not to confront the harasser, you should complain internally. Often, this involves reporting the harassment to your supervisor. However, if your supervisor is the source of the harassment, you should bring the issue to human resources. 

Document Your Claims

Documenting the harassment you have endured is an important step in remedying the situation.

You should begin by collecting as much evidence of the harassment as possible. Make sure you save any offensive notes, photos, letters, or other correspondence you have received. And if sexual jokes, cartoons, or other offensive materials have been posted at work by the harasser, you should either confiscate or take photos of them. In addition, you should keep a detailed journal documenting the harassment, including dates of harassment, those involved, and the location of each incident.  

Contact Our Experienced Rhode Island Sexual Harassment Attorney

Finally, if you are a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney as soon as possible. At the Herman Law Group, we are serious about addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. We are here to help ensure that the behavior stops and that those responsible are held accountable for their actions. Please contact us as soon as possible to schedule a meeting with one of our talented and knowledgeable sexual harassment attorneys.

Herman Law Group is based in Providence but offers its services throughout Rhode Island, including Bristol County, Kent County, Washington County, Providence County, Warwick, & Cranston. Additionally, the firm extends expertise in Attleboro, Boston, and across the rest of Massachusetts.

About the Author
At Herman Law Group, our focus is on safeguarding the rights and careers of employees and businesses alike. With over 35 years of successful legal practice, Louise A. Herman brings an invaluable dual perspective from representing both employees and employers. This unique insight allows us to effectively achieve successful outcomes for our clients in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and nationwide.