Maybe one of your coworkers won’t stop spreading malicious rumors about your personal life. They have most of your teammates and some of your regular customers convinced that you intentionally seduce married people or have spread sexually transmitted infections to others. Perhaps the supervisor continuously flirts with you in front of everyone and then attempts to solicit sexual favors from you in private.
Coping with sexual harassment on the job is difficult, to say the least. It often leads to elevated stress levels and either anxiety or depression symptoms. It could also affect your career development and your job performance. How do you fight back when you experience sexual harassment at work?
Start keeping records
Before you try to take any action at an official level, you need to gather proof of what you have experienced at work. Otherwise, it will be your word against someone else’s. Especially when they have been with the company longer or are in a more authoritative position, the business may not be inclined to trust you over the other party.
When you have clear records that show the date, time and location of each incident, as well as all the other details about what was said or done and who else was present, you can show that there someone you work with has displayed a concerning pattern of harassing behavior. Those records will help you when you take more assertive steps.
Follow internal reporting procedures
Most companies have written sexual harassment policies in their employee handbooks or contracts. Reviewing your paperwork from when you first took the job will help you figure out what you need to do to report harassment internally within the company.
You will want to follow the appropriate protocol when making an internal report. Many people choose to have a lawyer present during this process to ensure their employer takes them as seriously as they should. Presenting copies of your documentation but not the original records can also help you prompt the company to take action. If they do not, then you will need to take additional steps.
Prepare for a potential lawsuit
When you are employer refuses to make things right in a situation involving sexual harassment or when they punish you for reporting the issue instead of the party’s perpetrating the misconduct, you may have few options other than to take the company to court.
Filing a sexual harassment claim is usually the last step in a lengthy process and may be the only way to protect yourself when the company won’t act as it should.