Lawyer: Several cases of workplace sexual harassment go unnotice - WNEM TV 5

Lawyer: Several cases of workplace sexual harassment go unnoticed

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Sexual harassment has been in the workplace for a long time, but more women are speaking up against it.

"He then sent me pictures of his penis," a woman who wished to remain anonymous said.

That was not what she wanted to see on her phone from a coworker. She said her coworker repeatedly sexually harassed her at work, called her and texted her unwanted attention.

"When I went to my employer and told them about it, they laughed and thought it was funny that he was sending me these pictures. And said I should basically enjoy them," the woman said.

The woman found that type of behavior unacceptable and eventually filed a lawsuit against her employer.

Workplace harassment does happen and it happened in Mid-Michigan, but often times it goes unnoticed and unreported.

"It's more common than we realize," said Julie Gafkay, lawyer who specializes in workplace law.

She said she deals with cases of sexual harassment often, but knows there's plenty of employees who remain silent.

"A lot of people who are victim of harassment just take it. They don't want to blow the whistle and report it because he or she may feel retaliated against," Gafkay said.

She said there are steps to take when you feel uncomfortable with how a coworker or supervisor treats you.

"If a supervisor is the one doing the harassment, report it to someone higher up. If the owner is the one harassing you, then take it to equal employment office or the Michigan Department of Civil Rights or to a lawyer," Gafkay said.

The woman said she kept quiet about her harassment for a long time, but she hopes speaking out will make others speak up.

"I think speaking out about it will help encourage someone that is going through this to know it's very important that when it happens, say something, do something," the woman said.

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