From workplace bullying to threats of physical harm, there are some behaviors at work that you should never have to endure. Sexual harassment is one of the most prevalent forms of unlawful behavior that is unfortunately common and can result in a toxic work environment. Our team at the Law Offices of Gallner & Pattermann, P.C., have spoken to numerous employees in Iowa who have been on the receiving end of sexual harassment at work, and we understand the repercussions that come from it.
Sexual harassment can take many forms and come from anyone you encounter at work – a manager, coworker, associate or customer. Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted behavior of a sexual nature, and may include comments, jokes, teasing, suggestions or touching that make you feel uncomfortable or threatened at work. It often involves subtle comments or actions that gradually increase over time. According to NBC News, ongoing sexual harassment at work can cause such psychological injuries as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Some might say that sexual harassment is no big deal or will not result in lasting harm if the behavior is stopped. Unfortunately, that is not always true. If you have endured this kind of behavior, it might have impacted your self-esteem or sense of worth as a valued employee. Your trust in others could be affected to the point of negatively impacting your performance in later jobs. As with many adverse behaviors of a sexual nature, you might have been made to feel as if the behavior was your fault or you should have been able to stop it.
The feelings of helplessness, shame, guilt, fear and anxiety over being the victim of sexual harassment are only the tip of the iceberg. The ongoing emotional injuries can contribute to physical symptoms such as muscle aches, high blood pressure and heart problems. You have the right to protect yourself from unwanted behavior that can cause lasting harm, as we explain in our page on psychological injuries.