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Social media ignites national conversation on sexual harassment

In the wake of the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the reactions and revelations from numerous Hollywood actresses has sparked a national conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace. Buoyed by the “#MeToo” social media campaign, women from many backgrounds and industries shared their experiences about unwelcome advances. In all, more than 15 million social media posts were made over the past few days furthering the campaign.

Indeed, people may know what sexual harassment is in the abstract or when it is plainly obvious. Also, most can agree that given the pressures that people deal with at work, sexual harassment should not be one of them. But recognizing harassment and speaking out against it may be easier said than done.

The recent national conversation justifies a reminder about how sexual harassment can manifest itself in the workplace. 

Essentially, sexual harassment can come in many forms, including

- Offensive sexual language

- Verbal actions of a sexual nature

- Unwanted sexual approaches

- Quid pro quo requests of a sexual nature

For instance, if a supervisor offers to help you advance in the company if you have sex with them, or if your continued employment is conditioned upon accepting someone’s advances, these are classic cases of sexual harassment.

Also, if sexual conduct or sexually suggestive statements, images or jokes are directed at you, chances are that these are actionable instances of sexual harassment if you do not desire them and they make you uncomfortable.

The preceding is not legal advice. If you have questions about what to do about sexual harassment or want to know what legal recourse you have, an experienced employment law attorney can help. 

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