When you are trying to do your job, the last thing you want to have to worry about is sexual harassment from another worker. Not only can sexual harassment be extremely frustrating, but it can be traumatic and frightening, and leave you worrying about what you can to do make it stop. According to Drew Lewis, PC, and employment law firm that handles workplace sexual harassment claims, it is important for employees to remember that they have a right to feel safe at work and that employers are responsible for providing a harassment-free environment.
If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, here’s what you can do to address the problem and get the harassment to stop.
When you experience sexual harassment in the workplace there are a few things you will want to do right away.
- Document Your Harassment — It is very important to keep a record of your harassment. If you experience sexual harassment, whether it was a crude comment or an unwelcome physical touch, write down exactly what happened and when it happened. If others witnessed the harassment, ask them to do the same and give you a copy.
- Let the Harasser Know the Behavior is Unwelcome — To be considered sexual harassment, a behavior must be unwelcome. This is why it is important to let the person know their behavior is not welcome or offensive (if you feel safe doing so). This way, if the harassment continues, you can state that you already let the harasser know that you did not welcome their conduct.
- Report Your Harassment — When you have been sexually harassed, make a report to your employer so they are aware of what is happening to you. Many companies have a protocol in place for how to make this kind of report and who to make it to. If you do not know who to talk to, go to human resources or a supervisor who would have authority to stop the harassment.
Remember, if your sexual harassment involves a serious criminal offense such as rape or sexual assault, contact the police right away.
When the Sexual Harassment Doesn’t Stop
If you have tried taking steps to end your sexual harassment at work but the behavior continues, you have the right to take more serious legal action to get it to stop. You do not have to put up with sexual harassment.
When your sexual harassment won’t stop, you can:
- File a claim with your state labor agency — You can file a claim with your state agency that handles sexual harassment in the workplace. Many times you must go through this process first before suing your employer.
- File a federal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) — Another option is to file a complaint with the EEOC. This is the federal agency that handles sexual harassment complaints.
- File a sexual harassment lawsuit — You can file a civil lawsuit if you have been sexually harassed. If you choose this option, it can be good to talk to an employment law attorney who has experience handling sexual harassment cases.
When you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, you have a right to take legal action to get the harassment to stop and to be compensated for the harm the harassment caused. A legal claim may be the key to finally ensuring an end to your workplace sexual harassment.