Standing up to Sexual Harassment in Connecticut

In recent years, sexual harassment has been the subject of significant media coverage—and for good reason. Unfortunately, the problem of sexual harassment in American workplaces has become something of a modern epidemic, affecting workers of all ages and genders across disparate industries. While young women are disproportionately impacted by sexual harassment, it’s important to understand that sexual harassment can happen to anyone. Furthermore, the definition of sexual harassment is not limited to inappropriate physical contact. Sexual harassment can take many different forms—and all of them are illegal.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment in the workplace comes in many guises, including (but not limited to) the following behaviors:

  • Sexual assault. Aggressive physical contact of a sexual nature is one of the most common and well-understood forms of sexual harassment.
  • Unwanted touching. All forms of unwanted touching potentially count as harassment, even if they are not obviously violent. If a coworker insists on hugging you tightly or massaging your shoulders even after you firmly tell him or her to desist, for example, they are harassing you. Remember: No means no, without exception.
  • Physical or emotional intimidation. If someone tries to use a form of intimidation to coerce you into engaging in a sexual act, they have committed a crime. Making sex-specific derogatory comments is also considered sexual harassment. (This includes derogatory and otherwise inappropriate remarks made under the guise of “joking.”)
  • Pressuring you for a date. If a coworker continually pressures you to go on a date with him or her, even after you have refused repeatedly, you are being harassed.
  • Inappropriate digital contact. Not all harassers use verbal or physical means to pursue their victims. Some sexual harassers prefer to use emails or text messages to send inappropriate comments. This, too, is a form of harassment and is punishable by law.
  • Making sexual advances outside the office. Workplace sexual harassment doesn’t always happen in the workplace. Some perpetrators, fearful of professional repercussions if they get caught acting badly at work, wait until they can corner the victim outside of office hours. However, you should be aware that if a colleague behaves inappropriately toward you in another setting, such as a company event or simply while you catch up after work, this too counts as sexual harassment.
  • Stalking. Stalking behaviors include following the victim, staring at the victim inappropriately, repeatedly phoning, emailing, or texting the victim, and/or keeping track of the victim’s activities, either on or offline.
  • Repeatedly engaging in unwanted sexual discussions. If a colleague brags to you frequently about his or her sexual abilities, goes into great detail about his or her sex life without being asked, or asks invasive questions about your sexual orientation or activities, they are committing sexual harassment. If you clearly say that such discourse is not wanted, your wishes should be respected immediately, so don’t assume this kind of behavior is “harmless over-sharing.” Like inappropriate touching, it’s a breach of your personal boundaries.
  • Trying to force you to dress in a more sexual manner. While many workplaces enforce a certain standard of professional dress, it is never appropriate for a boss or supervisor to ask you to wear clothing that you feel is overly revealing, e.g., a short skirt or low-cut top.
  • Making racialized remarks of a sexual or flirtatious nature. If a colleague repeatedly tells you that he or she prefers the features of people of your specific ethnic background, or implies that people of your ethnicity are inherently more sexual, this is sexual harassment.

None of the above behaviors are acceptable, even if they are sometimes portrayed as “harmless” or “normal” on television. Each of these behaviors has the ability to undermine a person’s authority, sense of safety, and need for personal boundaries. In other words, they are never okay, and you can and should fight back if you experience any form of sexual harassment. Remember that harassment often starts out small and escalates if the victim appears to tolerate it, so the sooner you take action, the better.

As final note, it’s important to be aware that inappropriate behavior of a sexual nature still counts as sexual harassment even if you were once in a relationship with your harasser. If you dated a colleague in the past and made it clear that the relationship is over, but he or she persists in treating you like a sexual partner, that’s workplace sexual harassment.

Sexual Harassment Laws In Connecticut

Under Connecticut General Statutes Section 46a-60(8), sexual harassment is defined as any type of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or any sexual conduct, including explicit comments and crude jokes, when submitting to such conduct either explicitly or implicitly is a term or condition of employment or that an employment decision will be based on the reaction to the comment, or if the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with work performance or creating a hostile work environment.

Fight Back: Hire a Sexual Harassment Lawyer

Addressing sexual harassment in the workplace can be very challenging for victims—particularly those who have limited means or limited professional opportunities in their area of residence. After all, they rely on their jobs to pay the rent and keep their families fed and well cared for. This can make victims extremely reticent to speak out or seek help because they fear losing their job or damaging their professional reputation. Fortunately, hiring a skilled, experienced sexual harassment lawyer can protect you from unfair workplace discrimination while you seek the justice you deserve. If you have reason to suspect that reporting harassment to your supervisor will harm your employment status, talk to us first. We’ll guide you through the appropriate steps to reporting the offense committed against you.

Contact us Today to Learn More About Harassment Laws in Connecticut and How We Can Help

At Moynahan Law firm, we have the expertise required to help you safeguard your interests and your reputation, while also ensuring that your harasser is persecuted to the full extent of the law. Don’t stay silent about sexual harassment—If you want to remain with the company you work for, Waterbury, CT Attorney Tim Moynahan can help you make sure you’re not unfairly dismissed. (Remember: Unfair dismissal is also punishable by law.) You have rights, and our expert sexual harassment lawyer is here to defend them. All human beings are entitled to a safe, comfortable working environment.

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