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Same-sex sexual harassment in the workplace

An old ad marketing a product toward women once proudly declared, “You’ve come a long way, baby.” Maybe so — but there are circumstances where women are still suffering the same old problems, particularly in the workplace.

We’re talking about sexual harassment. In particular, we’re talking about harassment by other women. As woman continue to move up in the corporate world and start businesses of their own, we’re gradually re-learning something that psychologists have known all-along: Sexual harassment is about power, not gender. Female executives can be just as guilty of sexual harassment against other women (or men) as men can be.

According to at least one survey, 10% of women have been sexually harassed by other women on the job. One of the most widely-known scandals involving same-sex harassment involved the chief executive officer of Thinx, a company lauded for its feminist approach to women’s issues. The CEO reportedly would touch one employee’s breasts without permission, discuss her sexual exploits at random, hold video conferences in the nude and openly expressed her desire to have a sexual relationship with a female employee.

No matter what the circumstances of the harassment, however, women often fail to report the matter or take legal action. Their reluctance may be even deeper when they are being victimized by another woman. Often, women are concerned about how they’ll be perceived by others because victim blaming is a very real problem. They may also be ashamed or embarrassed by the whole situation — because that’s what sexual harassment is all about: power and domination. Most people are reluctant to admit that they have been manipulated by someone else, even when they really had no other option.

If you’ve been the victim of same-sex harassment in the workplace, you have options. You don’t have to let your harasser off the hook. Find out more about your right to compensation with a legal consultation today.

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