Whether a co-worker starts making raunchy jokes at your expense or a manager keeps aggressively flirting with you despite you telling them it makes you uncomfortable, sexual harassment can turn a previously pleasant job into a daily nightmare.
Many people facing sexual harassment at work feel disempowered and confused about what steps to take. They may initially do nothing and hope that the situation will remedy itself or fear speaking up because their employer might retaliate.
In reality, workers reporting sexual harassment have protection from retaliation under the law. If you take the right steps when dealing with sexual harassment, you will reduce the risks you incur by standing up for yourself or at least allow you to fight back over your employer’s improper response to your claims.
Document the harassment you’ve experienced
Keeping written records of each incident, including all of the relevant details from the time it occurred to what exactly someone said or did, will be crucial for making a report to your employer or taking legal action. You can’t just claim at someone made you uncomfortable, you will need to give multiple specific examples that show a clearly inappropriate pattern of behavior.
Review the company policy on harassment
The chances are good that you received training on sexual harassment or may have a special section in your employee handbook addressing it.
You will have the best chance of resolving the situation quickly and effectively if you follow your employer’s reporting process for the harassment you endure. Bringing internal attention to the issue should result in disciplinary action or retraining for the other party and not in any sort of penalties for you.
Know your rights so you can assert them
Unfortunately, there are employers who will transfer you, demote you or find an excuse to fire you because you spoke up about mistreatment on the job. When your employer doesn’t adhere to their own policy on sexual harassment or comply with the law, you may have no choice but to take further steps to protect yourself and others at your place of employment.
Pursuing a sexual harassment claim won’t just compensate you for the abuse you endured but we’ll also hopefully prompt your employer to change their practices.