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Sexual harassment in the workplace can threaten your livelihood

Sexual harassment is a serious concern in workplaces and public locations. It affects both males and females, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a person of the opposite sex who commits this crime. It can happen often or be sporadic, but the fact is that it's unwanted in nature and shouldn't be taking place.

If you've been accused of sexually harassing someone, it's important to know what the alleged victim will have to do to prove his or her case. You might feel that you want to immediately speak out and defend yourself, but your best option may be to say nothing, depending on your case. The victim has to show that the alleged harassment was unwelcome. That means that if you were flirting with someone who welcomed that behavior or even participated by sending flirtatious messages back, it wouldn't be acceptable for the person to claim that it was harassment later if he or she was turned down or found out you weren't single, for example.

Another thing to understand is that the person doesn't actually have to be harassed to make this claim. If you take part in offensive conduct, it's possible for someone to claim sexual harassment even though that conduct wasn't aimed at him or her. For example, talking about grabbing a female in an unwanted manner could offend female coworkers, and they could complain about harassment to the office manager or human resources department.

Simple teasing, isolated incidents and offhand comments aren't typically considered to be sexual harassment. If those are the basis for a claim, your attorney can help you have those claims denied.

Source: Texas Workforce Commission, "Sex Discrimination: Sexual Harassment," accessed Nov. 21, 2016

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