As much as we wish it weren’t the case, sexual harassment in the workplace is still a surprisingly common and disturbing experience. Fortunately, there are laws and protections in place to help ensure those who are sexually harassed are able to demand a safe and fair workplace. If the victim is not granted relief, the harasser and/or the employer can be sued in a court of law.
Sexual harassment can include a wide variety of different things including harassing comments, persistent sexual advances, inappropriate touching, and more. It can also include actions like having managers only invite the men to a team building event, or only giving promotions to females. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, make sure you do the following five things to protect yourself and your legal rights.
The first, and most important thing to do is make sure that you are safe. If you are being physically threatened or touched in dangerous way, remove yourself from the situation. All the other tips in this post are secondary to this one. Protecting yourself could mean going immediately to your boss, calling the police, or just leaving work and not coming back until you are safe.
Learn Your Corporate Policies
Virtually all companies today have an official policy on sexual harassment. In addition to forbidding inappropriate actions, the policy will also tell you how you should handle reporting it, and what obligations you have to fulfill. As soon as possible, become familiar with these policies so that you can be sure you are following them to the T.
Don’t Quit Your Job
Unless it is unsafe to go to work, you should not quit your job. The courts have ruled in the past that if someone quits their job, they give up certain rights to a sexual harassment lawsuit. While you should never put yourself in danger, it is generally a good idea to remain working for the employer in whatever capacity is possible if you want to successfully bring a claim.
Document Everything in Writing
Make sure you write everything down, and keep proof of all meetings and comments. Each time you are sexually harassed, write it down with the dates and times. Any meetings you have with your manager, human resources, or anyone else about the harassment should also be documented in writing. This documentation will be needed should your case have to go to court.
Report Every Instance
If you have reported to your manager that a co-worker is making inappropriate comments to you, for example, the employer is obligated to address it right away. If it happens again, you need to file another report with your manager or HR. Every instance of harassment should be reported to your manager or HR depending on your company’s policies.
Talk to an Attorney
If your concerns are not addressed by your employer right away, it is a good idea to talk to an attorney about what options are available. Crumiller P.C. fights for each of our clients, and when it comes to sexual harassment cases, we work in conjunction with C.A. Goldberg, PLLC to ensure your interests are properly represented throughout any case. Contact us to schedule a consultation and get the help you need to fight back against this egregious form of discrimination in the workplace.