Are Sexist Comments Considered Sexual Harassment?

There are laws in place to protect workers from sexual harassment in the workplace. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) oversees federal laws and addresses complaints of inappropriate behaviors in the workplace.

Sexual harassment could include unwanted sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexist comments, such as offensive remarks about women in general, are illegal and are considered sexual harassment.

The laws do not require harassment to be of a sexual nature, but it can consist of offensive remarks about the sex of the individual. Remarks like “men are lazy” or “women are weaklings” could be offensive and classify as harassment.

If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you should follow proper procedure to file a complaint. The processes can be complex, so be sure to check how to get a claim filed through your place of employment. If the claim advances to the EEOC, it can be filed in writing or in person.

Sexism at Work

Sexism and sexual discrimination often overlap with sexual harassment. You need to maintain supporting evidence and documentation, so you can take the proper action against your employer. Sexism in the workplace is discrimination that is based on gender, and it can also be cultural attitudes and stereotypes that show favoritism to one gender over the other.

Sexism in the workplace can affect both women and men. Sexual harassment isn’t always obvious, as sexism can be subtle often in the form of sly comments and sexist jokes. You may not realize that this behavior could be classified as sexual harassment, which is prohibited by state and federal laws. If you are the victim of workplace sexism or sexual harassment, it could lead to professional damage – especially if you are being denied the opportunity to advance because of your gender.

If you have been the subject if jokes that are gender-based, or if you have heard sly comments that were inappropriate or sexist, you may have grounds to pursue a sexual harassment claim against your employer. There are many forms that these sexist comments can take. For example, here are a few sexist comments that you may hear in the workplace.

“It must be that time of the month,” or “Your body is too beautiful for you to work here” are some comments that you may hear. Other comments may say “men are too strong to perform this kind of work” or “that isn’t man’s work.” You should document any of these remarks that you hear. If there are digital records, memos, or emails that support your claim, you should provide copies of those to back up your claim.

Evidence and Pursuing a Claim

Always take notes and document any actions or comments that are offensive or that could be considered sexist. If there are witnesses be sure to make note of any witnesses as they will be needed to provide statements regarding what they heard and saw. The first step in filing a claim will be to notify a supervisor that ranks higher up or your company’s human resources department.

You should maintain evidence that shows you reported the incident, and then you should keep any documents that show how your employer responded. If your employer doesn’t take action, or if the problem persists, you will then want to file a formal complaint with the EEOC or the state office. Evidence is a necessity for a successful claim, so be sure to maintain records, such as memos, emails, texts, and keep any digital images or audio recordings if they apply to your situation.

How an Attorney Can Help

Sexual harassment claims can be complicated. If you have suffered sexual harassment or sexual discrimination in the workplace, you should enlist the help of an employment law attorney who handles such claims in your state.

With the help of a lawyer, you will be able to gather more supporting evidence and build a strong claim. Your attorney will also be familiar with the state and federal laws that apply to your situation.

When you talk with an attorney, they will review the details of your claim and they will determine the best way to proceed. You do have limited time to pursue a claim, and if you wait too long, you cannot recover compensation for your damages. To make sure your claim is handled promptly and professionally, complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to share details with a lawyer in your area.

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