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Is that action sexual harassment? Opinions differ

Though it may seem like a sweeping generalization, many men and women often have differing views on similar situations. For example, when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, the actions that men and women view as harassing can differ greatly. As a result, knowing when harassment has occurred can become more difficult.

If you believe that you or a colleague has faced sexual harassment while at work, you may understandably feel unsettled. You may even wonder whether what happened was actually harassment. In some cases, it can depend on the specific circumstances as to whether someone's advances may constitute harassment.

Differing views

When it comes to how men and women view certain actions in regard to whether they constitute harassment, a survey found that more women than men typically consider specific actions harassing. For example, some differences in views include the following:

  • When it comes to sexual jokes, approximately one-third of women who participated in the survey indicated that such jokes are harassment. However, only 17% of men felt the same.
  • In relation to persisting in unwanted attention, the majority of both men and women considered the behavior harassment, but still, more women than men felt that it was always harassment.
  • Approximately 70% of women stated that asking for sexual favors was always harassment, and less than 50% of men had the same response.
  • When asked about looking at another person's private areas, over 60% of women considered it always harassment, and only 40% of men thought of it as always being harassment.

Differences also exist in the number of men and women who have experienced harassing or inappropriate behaviors. The survey found that approximately 60% of women had such experiences, while almost 30% of men indicated the same.

What can this mean?

These differences in views can seem troubling to you and others who believe that someone has sexually harassed you at work. You may worry that if you bring the situation to the attention of your superiors that they may not consider the situation harassment. Still, you have a right to a safe work environment, and if you feel that someone is creating a hostile work environment, you may want to take steps to address that matter.

If your employer does not take the proper action to handle your concerns, you will want to remember that you have legal options for addressing this type of ordeal. Speaking with a Florida attorney may be useful in that endeavor.

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