There are many potential reasons for sexual harassment in the workplace. For one thing, one person could actually be interested in a romantic relationship with a coworker and unable to accept that the feelings aren’t mutual. Or it could be an attempt by someone in power to demonstrate that power, with no romantic feelings at all attached.
One thing to consider, though, is the way that people may view gender roles. When men discriminate against women at work — which is the way that it typically happens, though not always — experts say that the underlying hostility is often because of the attitudes those men hold about women’s roles in life and their own roles.
Shifting gender roles are often met with resistance
For instance, the general stance in the 1950s and around that era was that men should work and women should stay home and raise children. That’s no longer true; many men stay home with the kids and many women work. Single-income families are no longer the norm. Younger workers generally just accept this for what it is.
But what if a worker got started in the 1950s or 1960s and is still with the company? Will they cling to these outdated attitudes? Will they refuse to take women seriously at work because they believe those workers should be at home? You can change the laws, but you can’t always change how people feel, and those feelings and beliefs can lead to illegal discrimination and harassment.
Your rights against workplace discrimination
If you have been harassed by a co-worker or discriminated against based on your gender at work, you need to know what legal options you have to fight back. An experienced attorney can help you learn more.