What to Do If You’re Being Sexually Harassed at Work
Sexual harassment continues to be a serious issue in the workplace. When a person has to put up with catcalls, crass jokes and sexual advances, it can make his or her job absolutely miserable. If you are being sexually harassed at your job, know that you do not have to stand for the kind of treatment. Here are the steps you should take to make it stop:
Know That You’re Not Alone
Getting sexually harassed can make you feel absolutely powerless. You may wonder why the offender is doing this in the first place and if you can ever make it stop. It is important to know that you are not alone. Many people experience sexual harassment, even in the workplace. Recognize that this is a society issue and it’s not your fault.
Tell the Offender to Stop
If you feel comfortable, let the offender know that you find his or her behavior offensive and you want it to stop. Sometimes people do not realize that their behavior is wrong and need to be told that it is. If you feel nervous about talking to the harasser, you should speak to his or her supervisor.
It is important to document every incident of sexual harassment at work. Write down the date, time, name of the offender, what he or she said and if there were witnesses present. If you ever have to pursue legal action, you can use the journal as evidence.
Follow Your Employer’s Procedure
If the harasser refuses to stop, you should follow your employer’s procedure for dealing with sexual harassment claims. If your employer does not have such a procedure, you should tell your immediate supervisor about what has been going on.
File an Administrative Charge
If the harasser is still bothering you after you have followed your employer’s procedure, it’s time for you to file an administrative file with the proper governmental agency. They will thoroughly look into your claim and attempt to resolve it with your employer.
File a Lawsuit
If the government agency is not able to resolve your complaint, you have the right to file a lawsuit against the offender and your employer. If you win the lawsuit, you may receive back pay for any time you had to take off work, damages for emotional distress and reimbursement for attorney fees. You may also require your employer to implement new policies to stop sexual harassment.
Navigating a sexual harassment lawsuit can be quite difficult on your own, so it may be in your best interest to hire an employment lawyer. He or she may help you build a strong case and gather necessary evidence. With an experienced lawyer on your side, you may feel a lot better about your situation.
Schedule a free consultation with a sexual assault lawyer VA residents use today to talk about your case in detail. You deserve justice for what you have been through.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into sexual harassment laws.