What To Do if You’re Being Sexually Harassed at Work

Despite an increased awareness of workplace sexual harassment, this is still an ongoing problem in California and throughout the country. Putting a stop to sexual harassment in your workplace starts with knowing what to do if you encounter this issue. Taking the right steps to shed light on sexual harassment at work and have the issue resolved can protect you and others from harassment in the future.

Speak Up

Always speak up about workplace sexual harassment that you experience or witness at work. Tell the person who sexually harassed you that their actions meet the definition of harassment and are unwelcome. There is a chance that the person didn’t realize how he or she was making you feel, and that a simple conversation could resolve the issue. If it doesn’t fix the problem or you don’t feel comfortable talking directly to the offender, report it to someone else instead.

Document Harassment

It can be difficult to prove a claim of sexual harassment in the workplace. It is critical to document the incident with as much evidence and detail as possible. Start by writing down everything that you can remember from the incident, including what was said or done, who was in the room or witnessed the incident (if anyone), and the exact date and time of the offense. If you tell anyone about the incident, write down the names of the people that you told, as well. Keep your notes and evidence in a safe place.

Report It to HR

If speaking directly to the offender does not resolve the issue, take your complaint to the next stage by going higher up. Coming forward is not easy. You may have a fear of losing your job or getting a bad reputation at work. However, reporting harassment is one of the most important things that you can do to protect yourself and others in your workplace. 

Go to a human resources representative right away if you experience sexual harassment from a coworker, manager, supervisor, customer or anyone else in the workplace. Give a detailed description of what happened, including the names of anyone else who witnessed the incident. Your workplace should have a protocol in place for reporting and responding to sexual harassment. You should also be able to keep your complaint anonymous, if desired.

Note that you are protected from retaliation by federal law. If you experience adverse employment action against you after reporting sexual harassment at work, such as a demotion or job termination, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against your employer for unlawful retaliation.

Go to a Federal Agency

If your employer doesn’t remedy the problem, you have the right to take your sexual harassment claim to the next level – a federal agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). File an official complaint against your employer or an individual at your workplace with the EEOC for a resolution. The EEOC will investigate the incident and may take remedial action against your employer, if necessary.

Contact a Sexual Harassment and Abuse Lawyer

If the EEOC gives you permission to proceed with a lawsuit against your workplace for sexual harassment, you may be able to bring a cause of action in pursuit of financial compensation for your related losses, including pain and suffering. Filing a sexual harassment lawsuit could allow you to pursue justice by holding someone accountable. An experienced Los Angeles sexual harassment lawyer can help you with the legal process.

You are not powerless to do something about sexual harassment in your workplace. The law is on your side. If you or someone you know is being sexually harassed at work in California, take these steps to put an end to unwelcome comments, discrimination, physical advances, or other forms of harassment. For further assistance, contact Manly, Stewart & Finaldi for a free consultation with an attorney. You can discuss your issue with a lawyer and learn more about your legal rights at no cost or obligation to hire us.