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Sexual harassment warning signs: What to watch out for

When sexual harassment starts, its often a lot lighter than it eventually becomes. During these initial stages of sexual harassment, it's often easier for the victims to make it stop. The problem is, most victims dismiss these early stages as nothing more than harmless flirting or "joking." Even if the behavior makes them feel uncomfortable, the victims usually assume that it will simply go away.

The problem is, it might not go away -- and it could escalate into a situation that causes the victim to quit, get fired or suffer many other types of unfortunate consequences. To avoid becoming a victim of sexual harassment, here are three things that every worker should watch out for:

Sexism: Sexism and sexist behavior often consist of jokes and comments made by coworkers or supervisors. These jokes or comments will be sexual in nature -- or make reference to your appearance -- and they will usually make you feel uncomfortable. The comments could be directed at you, or they might be directed at someone else, but they will make you feel demeaned and put down.

Coercion: Many victims of sexual harassment experience offers that constitute bribery and coercion. This is referred to as "quid pro quo" sexual harassment. A boss might offer you a promotion or promise not to fire you in exchange for a sexual favor, or in exchange for going on a date with him or her.

Unwanted touching: If your coworkers or superiors start to touch you in unwanted ways, you know that you're being sexually harassed. No one should ever touch you in a professional setting. This is doubly worse if someone touches you in a sexual manner.

If you're being sexually harassed at your workplace, seek out an employment law attorney who can help you address the manner in a lawful fashion.

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