Even in this day and age, harassment is pervasive throughout the U.S. Sexual and racial harassment are the most common -- such as the supervisor at work promising a promotion in return for sexual favors or someone saying, "You're real clever for a black guy."
But harassment could also involve the neighbors from hell, a bully in the classroom, or a stalker. People are harassed for a multitude of reasons, from their political or religious beliefs to the way they look.
Unsolicited sexual attention, such as remarks about your looks or dress that make you feel uncomfortable. Sexual harassment can include:
- degrading words or pictures (like graffiti, photos, or posters);
- physical contact of any kind;
- sexual demands.
Racial and/or Ethnic Harassment:
Any comment or action that denotes or promotes racial stereotypes and hatred. Racial harassment can include:
- spoken or written putdowns;
- other unwanted comments or acts.
Offensive behavior toward an individual or group based on prejudice toward their gender or sexual orientation.
Someone you are in contact with because of your work, such as your boss, co-worker or a customer, who harasses you while you are performing your job. Workplace harassment includes to and from work as well as at the workplace. Ultimately, your employer is responsible for any kind of harassment that affects you at work.
What You Can Do
Harassment victims are often made to feel powerless, especially in the workplace. It may be ongoing and they have come to accept it; they may have been told to keep quiet or get fired. But there is a lot of support for harassment victims and a lot can be done to stop the abuse, from informal complaints to filing a lawsuit against the responsible parties.
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If harassment has occurred at work, your company may have policies and procedures in place for filing a complaint. There may be someone in HR or a co-worker responsible to receive harassment complaints. If not, you should complain to your immediate supervisor.
Keep in mind that harassment won't go away if you don't speak up; it may happen to someone else; if it happened in the workplace, chances are, you aren't alone. If you allow harassment to continue, it can upset your home life, your relationships and your health.
To find out about anti-harassment court orders, visit the [Washington Courts website]