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Sexual harassment and discrimination: inappropriate behavior

Sexual harassment and discrimination is unacceptable in a West Virginia workplace. Unfortunately, many victims of this type of behavior either do not know what qualifies as sexual harassment and discrimination or are afraid to exercise their rights to legal assistance. Unwanted sexual advances from a co-worker or an authority figure at work is certainly a type of harassment, but other types of inappropriate behavior also qualify.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits inappropriate behavior in the workplace, yet many West Virginia workers are subjected to unfair treatment every day. Out of fear of retaliation or embarrassment, many of the perpetrators are not held accountable for making sexual advances in the workplace. When a victim reaches out for legal help, it is possible to both stop this treatment and be compensated for emotional duress.

A request for a sexual favor is also considered a form of harassment, as are threats, both direct and veiled, if the request is denied. No worker should be subjected to inappropriate jokes, suggestive emails or unwanted physical contact. It is important to note that both men and women can be victims of sexual harassment. Many employer guidebooks outline what employees should do if they are victims, but it is important to remember that every individual has the right to legal counsel as well.

There is a limited amount of time to seek help for cases involving sexual harassment and discrimination. If a victim would like to file a claim against a co-worker or employer, it is important to act promptly. It can be intimidating to speak out against this type of behavior, but a victim does not have to navigate the process alone.

Source: aauw.org, "Know Your Rights at Work: Workplace Sexual Harassment", Accessed on Feb. 4, 2015

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