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What if someone is sexually harassing your mom at work?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2022 | Harassment & discrimination

Your mom recently returned to the workplace after years out due to raising you. She grew up in a different era when many women considered men making inappropriate comments to be something you learned to ignore and put up with.

Some of the things she tells you about her days at work make you cringe and believe people are sexually harassing her. Is it that you would not like those things done or said to you, or are they harassment?

What classifies as workplace sexual harassment?

California’s Attorney General defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, or other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature and actions that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment based on an employee’s sex.”

It’s a broad definition, so if you think what is happening to your mom is sexual harassment, it probably is. Even if she does not feel uncomfortable, it could still be harassment if it makes others feel uncomfortable.

Why report sexual harassment?

The more sexual harassment happens without comment in a workplace, the more license the perpetrators feel they have. Calling people out for it is an essential first step.

If your mother does not want to report it, try explaining that her younger female colleagues may look up to her. Someone may be sexually harassing them, and reporting her experiences may give them the strength to say what is happening to them.

Ending sexual harassment is a joint effort. Employers have a responsibility but so do workers. The ultimate responsibility lies with the individuals doing it, but it may take legal measures to force them to stop.