Sexual harassment is not a thing of the past, as much as we would like to think otherwise. On a regular basis, countless women — and to a lesser extent, men — report being sexually harassed while attempting to live life normally. If there is one thing that the past few years have revealed, it’s that sexual harassment is all too common in the workplace, especially within certain fields. However, though most of the major cases reported during the #MeToo movement have been confined to the entertainment industries and public spheres, workplace sexual harassment comes in many different forms, and it’s treated differently by everyone, especially depending on where you live. For example, in Pennsylvania, sexual harassment is not considered a crime. Though victims of sexual harassment can file a civil claim or lawsuit against the person who sexually harassed them in the workplace, they cannot pursue criminal charges. The fact that various areas are so lax in terms of their protections means that countless women are left feeling unsafe.
Fortunately, with the law not always being a resource for women dealing with workplace sexual harassment, there are individuals taking steps to ensure that women have as many resources to fight this issue as possible. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have been major ways in which people, especially women, have banded together to confront sexual harassment by exposing it to the public and shaming or pursuing legal actions against offenders. But there are also technological advancements being made to further the movement. One of those resources is the #NotMe app.
What Is The #NotMe App?
The #NotMe app is one of many new resources available for women facing the possibility of workplace sexual harassment, and its intention is to both help women who are currently dealing with the problem and prevent it from happening to others. The app essentially lets employees report workplace misconduct. They can choose to do so anonymously or to attach their names to the allegations. It’s not meant only for those suffering from workplace sexual harassment or gender discrimination, but also for employees experiencing workplace discrimination due to their race or sexual orientations.
The app is free to use, and it can be actively offered by employers to staff. In fact, the app is not meant to give employers trouble, but rather to offer them a resource through which they can receive honest feedback about the work environments that they manage, and through which they can keep their employees as safe as possible.
Why Is It So Important For People To Have Resources Like #NotMe?
Some might argue that resources like the above-mentioned app are not truly necessary in a workplace with an open and understanding environment. After all, no workplace actively endorses sexual harassment. Isn’t it safe for employees to report harassment to their employers directly?
Quite often the answer to that question is no. Workplaces must offer a good face and comply with sexual harassment laws and policies, but actually implementing their own rules is another matter entirely. Though it is illegal to fire someone because she is pregnant, for example, that hasn’t stopped some employers from finding “unrelated” reasons to fire pregnant people. Furthermore, many people, especially women and people of color, find it difficult to speak up at the workplace simply because they are afraid of losing their jobs. This is especially problematic in a world in which there is currently a great deal of economic uncertainty. If you have a job as of now, you understandably want to keep it. In the past, it hasn’t been uncommon for women to lose their jobs after reporting workplace sexual harassment. One of the reasons why so many people find themselves struggling with the idea of reporting workplace sexual harassment to their bosses is that it can sometimes come from the boss him or herself. When we consider the realities of the workplace, it’s often easy for bosses to get away with misconduct. It’s estimated right now that there are around 11 million meetings each day in the United States, often involving video conferencing, VoIP services, and similar technology. Think about how easy it would be for someone in upper management to sexually harass an employee in a private meeting and get away with it. This can not only cost a woman her job but can also potentially ruin her career in the future. Clearly, this has been seen in the entertainment industry, where many women reported having their acting careers derailed following their refusals for sexual favors to those above them at the workplace. It’s important that people have the ability to report sexual harassment remotely and anonymously, which is exactly what tools like the app give them.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Sexually Harassed In The Workplace?
If you’ve been sexually harassed in the workplace, you do have options, though they may vary depending on the severity of the harassment and where you live. But the first step for you to take is to speak with a lawyer. Right now, there are 1,315,561 lawyers in the United States, and many of them handle sexual harassment cases. The sooner you speak to an attorney, the sooner you will know what to do. There is hope and a future for you, even if something as appalling as workplace sexual harassment has occurred.
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