Given the current climate sweeping across the nation regarding sexual harassment, it makes sense that Missouri's employees are checking out how their own state defines the issue. If you are part of Missouri's workforce, you can rest assured that there are legal protections in place for such cases. Of course, these protections offer much more assistance when you are able to recognize instances of sexual harassment at the time when they occur.
So, how do you know whether you are being or have been sexually harassed? According to Missouri's Department of Labor, it is defined as discrimination based on behavior that is sexually explicit. Sexual advances, verbal and physical contact that is sexual in nature and requests for an employee to perform a sexual favor can all fall under the umbrella of this type of behavior.
It is illegal for employers to incorporate this behavior as a condition of a subordinate's hiring or firing. If your boss threatens you with termination or lets you know that you may not get hired for a position at all or be considered for a promotion if you do not submit to or perform in a sexual manner, you are likely facing sexual harassment. If any other decision regarding your treatment in the workplace is contingent on your acceptance of such behavior by a higher-up, consider this a huge red, waving flag, as well.
Sexual harassment in the workplace is not only based on the behavior of people in authority. If the actions of a colleague create an intimidating or hostile work environment, or make it otherwise uncomfortable for you, sexual harassment might still be in play. This can include the distribution of sexually charged photos, stories, e-mails or the telling of jokes that are sexual in nature. Unwelcome sexual advances, inappropriate attention, lewd comments on your physical appearance, actions such as brushing up alongside you in passing or touching you continually can also fall into the realm of sexual harassment. You have the right to work in an environment that is free from sexual harassment and the fear and pressure that can accompany it.
The information in this post should be considered informative only and should not be considered as legal advice.