How to Handle Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?
Sexual harassment is not necessarily something new for us. Studies show that around 81% of women and 43% of men have experienced some form of sexual harassment. It is important that you recognize the signs of sexual harassment at the workplace and that you address the matter. Failing to do so will only make things worse and affect your working capacity. Here is your guide on how to handle sexual harassment in the workplace.
Steps to Take When You Are Being Sexually Harassed
If you are being sexually harassed at work, there are certain steps that you can take. This can include the following:
Determine Whether or Not You Are Being Sexually Harassed
The last thing you want is to file a complaint and start a lawsuit process on no actual grounds. For instance, if the comment was innocent enough or a one-time thing that got corrected, there is no need to file a complaint. This is especially the case if you made a remark on something that you did not like and they apologized. However, if the harassment persists even after you repeatedly told them to stop, you may have grounds for a sexual harassment claim.
Take Initial Action
Before you file an official complaint with Human Resources, you may want to try to solve things amicably. For example, they may not be aware that their comments are offensive. When you file a claim out of nowhere, they may refute it by saying that you should have spoken up before. Try telling them that their actions make you feel uncomfortable and that you do not want it to happen near you again. Sometimes, this is enough to make the hostile work environment stop.
Check Your Company Policy of Sexual Harassment
It is always a good idea to check your company’s policy on sexual harassment before you file a complaint. For example, you may feel tempted to file a report right away, but the policy may require you to discuss matters with the offender first. Similarly, some companies may require you to go in person to your supervisor before filing an official complaint. There may also be certain departments that you have to address and specific documents to provide, so you will want to know as much as possible.
File an Official Complaint to the Company
When working things out with your offender does not bring any results, it is time for you to step up your game. Once you have talked things over with your higher-ups, it is always a good idea to write a formal complaint as well. This will suggest that you are not just complaining about an annoying or rude coworker, but you are bringing a real problem forward. Make sure that you attach as many details as possible.
File an Official Complaint to EEOC
If the company that you are working for does not seem to care about bringing you justice, you may want to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Make sure that you file within the first 180 or 300 days of the harassment, depending on the local laws. The EEOC will take a look at your case and decide on the process.
Fear of Retaliation
The main problem with sexual harassment in the workplace is that 2 out of 3 incidents go unreported. This is because the victim often fears retaliation – especially if the one doing the harassment is their boss. They fear that if they make a claim, they will be fired and out of their income.
The fear is somewhat legit. While it is illegal for your employee to fire you for a sexual harassment claim in California, it doesn’t mean they can’t fire you. They will simply find other reasons to lay you off. Even if they don’t, they can find some other subtle means to make you miserable.
If this is your case, you may still be able to protect your rights by documenting the harassment instances. Keep a record of your good performances as well, to refute any claims that you did not do your job right. In Woodland Hills, California, these records can set the grounds for a lawsuit. You will just need a good Woodland Hills sexual harassment attorney to help you file a lawsuit.
The Bottom Line
If you are being harassed at the workplace, you shouldn’t let things get out of hand. Document your harassment instances and make an official complaint. Before things get messy, make sure to have an attorney on hand.