How To Handle Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Sexual harassment is unfortunately a common experience for many individuals. No matter the circumstances, the event can cause the victim great feelings of shame and embarrassment. The reporting process can be even more dehumanizing if the company does not have the appropriate personnel or infrastructure to rectify the situation. The following may serve as a guide to help victims of workplace sexual harassment find justice.


What Is Sexual Harassment?

Workplace sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual behavior or conduct that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive working environment for an individual. It can take various forms, including verbal or physical advances, comments or gestures, or the display of sexually suggestive materials. Sexual harassment is illegal under federal law in the United States and in the State of Michigan. 


What Do I Do If I Am Experiencing Sexual Harassment At Work?

If you are experiencing sexual harassment or are even a witness to the harassment of others, there are several rights and protections at your disposal. One of the most important things you can do is communicate your boundaries if you feel safe enough to do so. If you don’t have a chance at that moment, you may still follow up at a later time to discuss that boundary. Documentation is essential, so following up on the conversation by summarizing it in an email through company email will provide that, and be sure to send copies of the correspondence to your personal files outside of company property, just in case it is later lost by your employer. Continue to document every interaction, notating the date, time, and name of the individual who harassed you and/or your coworkers.


Before reporting internally, take the time to look into the employer’s policy on harassment. Being acquainted with the policy will help you advocate for yourself when filing a report. If possible, report the harassment to a supervisor or HR representative whom you trust or to whom the pol. You may also report externally by contacting the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or file a harassment charge, however contacting a lawyer early in the process can give you the appropriate resources to take action. 


How Can An Attorney Help My Case?

Enlisting the help of an attorney can not only empower you to continue to take action, but they can also take action on your behalf. Individuals who commit sexual harassment bank on their power and privilege to protect them from legal repercussions. An attorney can give you guidance on how to effectively document the harassment, deal with your harasser, and file through the appropriate channels, depending on the severity of the event. Your job is important to you, and fear of retaliation from your employer is a valid concern. Your attorney will take the facts of your situation and help you weigh your options in determining the legal grounds of your case. 

The firm of Carla D. Aikens is working diligently to expand the rights of victims throughout the country. If your workplace has not taken your situation seriously, or has failed to act in accordance with federal employment laws, you are well within your rights to pursue litigation. If you or a loved one is experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination, contact our office online, or call (844) 835-2993 for a consultation today.

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