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What is sexual harassment in a Florida workplace?

Are you happy in your job? Not everyone is. And it may not be because you don't like your work.  Sometimes it's the way you're treated by the people you work with or for who can make you want to look for a position elsewhere. When you're experiencing sexual harassment, every day can be a struggle.

Unfortunately, you may not be ready to look for a new job; whether because you don't have enough experience in your field, because you've only been at the job for a short while, or because you feel unsure about other employment opportunities.  

In many cases, hard working men and women just feel fortunate to have a job at all. The last thing they want is to do anything that might upset their employment situation. Many employees are afraid to report sexual harassment, making them feel that they have no options if they become victims of sexual harassment on the job.

But employees do have options. Anyone in Florida who finds himself or herself the victim of sexual harassment should know that they have a right to be free of this behavior under federal and state law.

But how do you know if you're being sexually harassed? It's not always an easy answer.

Some forms of sexual harassment are fairly subtle. They might come in the form of an unwanted touch or an inappropriate comment. These are considered activities that create a hostile work environment -- something that is banned under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A complaint to the boss or human resources at the first sign of this behavior might stop it.  If the behavior continues, then more serious action might be required, including filing a lawsuit.

A second type of sexual harassment is more obvious. It often involves someone in authority at work demanding some sexual favor. If you are told that getting or keeping your job, or getting a raise or promotion, depends on your going along with the demand, you are a victim of sexual harassment.

Sometimes, even if an employee complains about sexual harassment, an employer will refuse to correct the behavior or will refuse to give the employee a deserved raise or promotion or will even fire the employee.  If you've complied with your employer's procedures on making a complaint, and you receive negative treatment afterwards, your employer may be retaliating against you, which they are not allowed to do.  

To protect your rights, you have to know your rights. Many employers have human resources departments that are supposed to provide employees with information on their rights.  Some employers don't have human resources departments, and, even if your employer does, you may feel uncomfortable contacting them about this issue.  If you're unsure about your rights, you need to contact a lawyer who understands how to navigate the legal system on your behalf.

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