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What are some circumstances in which sexual harassment can occur?

In a previous post here we discussed the case of one former U.S. House of Representatives staff member who claimed she was sexually harassed in the workplace. Unfortunately, her situation is not entirely unknown in Washington, D.C. While many workers may have heard of instances about sexual harassment, it may also be good for workers to understand the circumstances under which sexual harassment can occur.

First of all, sexual harassment is not limited to women. Both men and women can either be victims of sexual harassment or instigators of sexual harassment. In fact, it is entirely possible for a woman to sexually harass another woman or for a man to sexually harass another man.

In addition, the instigator of the sexual harassment does not necessary have to be the victim's direct supervisor, although this is sometimes the case. In addition to a worker's supervisor, other instigators of sexual harassment can be co-workers, a different supervisor than the one who oversees the victim's work or even an employer's agent.

Moreover, it is not necessary for the victim to lose a job or in some other way suffer an economic injury for illegal sexual harassment to take place. In the end, to constitute sexual harassment, the behavior of the instigator of the harassment must not be welcomed.

As this shows, there are a variety of circumstances in which sexual harassment can occur. Although sexual harassment can have a terribly negative effect on a victim's life, victims of sexual harassment should not be afraid to step forward and fight back against the illegal harassment they endured.

Source: eeoc.gov, "Facts About Sexual Harassment," Accessed Oct. 12, 2015

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