Across the world, a surge of allegations is exposing the full extent of sexual harassment in everyday life. Entire industries now have to take a hard look at themselves
to assess the scale of the issue, and construction is no exception. Most recent revelations of workplace sexual misconduct have come from high-profile industries: movies, TV news, professional sports, performing arts, high-tech, and electoral politics, among others. But sexual harassment is just as common on many blue-collar job sites, which may explain why so few women dare to venture into the construction trades.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted behavior of a sexual nature which can
violate your dignity, makes you feel unsettled, degraded or humiliated, or creates a hostile or offensive environment. It could be anything from putting up images of topless women around the workplace to various forms of sexual assault.
This is not acceptable, legal or safe, especially on a work site where maintaining
focus is vital each day. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are
equipped to investigate, stop and prevent sexual harassment in all industries. But the incidents of harassment need to be reported first. If you have been sexually harassed, whether you are a man or woman, you can file a claim and gain legal protection. It is always best to consult with an attorney if you have been sexually harassed before taking any action.
Employers should consider more training in their workplaces to make people aware
of sexual harassment. Without appropriate training and understanding of what is and is
not appropriate, a misunderstanding can overtake the workplace and cause division between employees. Training will also show how to report sexual harassment. Anyone who witnesses or becomes aware of potential instances of sexual harassment should report it to a supervisor or manager. Harassment must be promptly reported to the employer. It is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for reporting suspected sexual harassment.
For more information regarding sexual harassment prevention laws, please refer to
the NYS Division of Human Rights at www.DHR.ny.gov.