Despite the many federal and state laws in place to prevent sexual harassment at work, this remains a major problem throughout the country.
It’s easy to believe you’ll never find yourself in this position, but things have a way of taking a turn for the worse when you least expect it.
- Say something. The biggest mistake you can make is saying nothing, as this gives the harasser reason to believe that his or her behavior is acceptable. When you tell the person to stop, this may be all you need in order to put an end to the harassment before it worsens.
- Review your employee handbook. In it, you should find information on how to report sexual harassment. Pay close attention to the process, all the while making note of anything that you don’t understand.
- Report it to your supervisor and/or HR department. Follow the procedure outlined in the employee handbook, ensuring that your supervisor or HR professional is 100 percent aware of what is going on. Also, let them know you’ll be following up to see what course of action is best.
- Keep detailed records. Although the instances of sexual harassment may be fresh in your mind, this is not always good enough. You need to keep detailed records every step of the way, such as any evidence of the harassment and filed complaints.
- Don’t back down. If you aren’t getting satisfaction from your employer, you shouldn’t back down and assume that you’re out of options. Instead, you need to double down to protect your legal rights. Depending on the circumstances, litigation may be the next best step. A successful suit can result in remedies such as: back pay, reinstatement and damages for emotional distress.
Even if you work in a safe environment where everyone respects each other, you could still be the victim of sexual harassment at some point.
If you find yourself in this difficult spot, it’s imperative to follow the steps detailed above. When you do this, you’ll feel much more comfortable protecting your legal rights and taking steps that help avoid a negative impact on your career and financial life.