How Virginia employees can avoid accusations of sexual harassment

Both men and women should learn how to avoid sexual harassment accusations in the workplace.

Recent times have shed new light on sexual harassment in the workplace. While it is understandable that Virginia employees might be wary of how they conduct themselves in the workplace, knowing how to sidestep accusations of sexual harassment and similar criminal charges makes for better-educated employees as well as workers who are able to focus more on their jobs.

Enroll in training

While it might seem as though every employer would offer some type of workplace sexual harassment training, that is not always the case, and the same is true of employee handbooks failing to directly address the consequences of sexual harassment. In such situations, it is a good idea to ask for sexual harassment training. Doing so might feel a little awkward, but not more awkward than being falsely accused of sexual harassment and enduring the ensuing fallout.

Do not mix the professional and personal

No matter how laid back a work environment might be, make yourself ever-conscious of the fact that you are still in a place of business. This means being conscious of topics brought up at work and comments made in front of coworkers. It is also a good idea to think twice about dating your coworkers.

Raise the subject with men and women in your life

Because everyone has a different idea of what constitutes sexual harassment, it is a good idea for you to talk about the subject with the men and women in your life. Learn about their experiences with sexual harassment both inside and outside of work. Such information can keep you from inadvertently harassing someone with what you might think of as harmless comments or actions. Just be aware that there might be some people who would rather not talk about their experiences, which is perfectly okay.

Respect another person's personal space

Some people are fine with hugging instead of handshakes, nor do they mind non-sexual touching. But there are others who like to maintain physical distance. With both types, employees have to be both respectful and conscious of what others prefer when it comes to physical interactions. Giving someone what you view as a harmless and non-sexual back massage might not seem like a big deal to you, but it could make someone else in the office uncomfortable or feel like a victim of a sexual offense. Do not be afraid to ask your coworkers the type and style of physical interactions they prefer.

While the above tips can help you avoid being accused of sexual harassment in your Virginia workplace, they are not a guarantee. Reach out to a lawyer if accusations have been raised against you.