Sexual harassment almost always creates hostile workplaces for female and male workers. Many workers might be unaware of how to handle situations involving inappropriate comments, unwelcome advances or requests for sexual favors. Workers who have experienced sexual harassment are left frustrated and in fear of their jobs.
In some situations, workers who are the targets of sexual harassment may be denied promotions unless they return sexual favors or fired for refusing advances.
Fortunately, sexual harassment is highly illegal and affected workers have options for fighting back. This step-by-step guide might help you create strategies for handling workplace sexual harassment.
Confront the situation: If a coworker or supervisor is targeting you with unwelcome or offensive comments, let him or her know the behavior cannot continue. At this point, it has been established that your coworker or supervisor is creating a hostile work environment, which may become important later if you need to pursue legal action.
Gather evidence: If you are experiencing sexual harassment, evidence can be crucial for establishing that a hostile workplace has been created. Evidence will be used if filing a lawsuit becomes necessary. The earlier you start collecting evidence, the better.
Confront HR/move up the food chain: Many businesses have certain procedures for dealing with sexual harassment. However, this can become complicated if a supervisor or other employee in a position of authority is the guilty party. If you are able, follow your company’s established procedures (such as scheduling a private meeting with human resources or other supervisors).
File a complaint with the EEOC, and hire an attorney: The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) may decide to launch an investigation and mediate the situation with your employer. While the EEOC is reviewing your evidence during its investigation, it would be wise to contact an employment law attorney to explore additional legal options. Sexual harassment is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Sexual Harassment is Dangerous for Your Health
Workers experiencing sexual harassment should not wait to start taking action. In fact, sexual harassment can have detrimental psychological effects on workers, such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you have experienced sexual harassment, do not wait for your mental health to start deteriorating before taking action.
The Los Angeles employment law attorneys at Kesluk, Silverstein, Jacob & Morrison, P.C. will fight to defend the rights of workers who have been hurt by workplace sexual harassment.