08 Feb Sexual Harassment at Work? Here’s What You Should Do
Sexual harassment in the workplace has become a hot topic lately. More and more employees are speaking up about past harassment and more employers are being held accountable for acts that have been proven to have occurred in the workplace. Sexual harassment can take the form of verbal or physical conduct. While this act is strongly prohibited in the workplace, in some places, it is still commonplace. What should you do if you are sexually harassed in the workplace? Here are just a few options:
Read the Company’s Policy
Even before an incident of sexual harassment occurs, you should consider reading the policy of your company. You will note that most policies normally outline how to report such cases and so on. They also outline whom you should report to and within what time should you report an incident. This policy also indicates how such grievances are handled.
Take Note of What Happened
Since you can recall the incident vividly, you should write down the events that took place as soon after the event occurs as possible. Write down everything that was said or done. You should indicate who did what and when the event happened. In addition, you should indicate the venue and the names of any witness who was around at that time. If you have been receiving offensive or threatening emails or text message, consider printing them out or taking screenshots of them as evidence. You should store this information in a safe place so that you can retrieve it in case it is needed. Be as detailed in your reporting as possible. You never know when the smallest detail might make the biggest difference.
Confide in a Co-Worker That You Trust.
If you have a close friend who works in the same company, consider confiding in him or her. You should however, ask your co-worker to keep the information confidential. You might discover that he or she was a victim of the same behavior and may have been afraid to speak up.
Confront the Harasser
If you feel comfortable and confident enough, you can confront the harasser and tell him or her that you are not comfortable with what is going on between the two of you. Be firm when speaking with your harasser and show him or her that you are not interested in the particular behavior that has been taking place. If the harassment continues, you can report this case to the relevant authorities.
Report the Case
If the behavior persists, you can report the matter to your manager or the owner of the company. You can show the evidence that you have so as to clear any doubts that might be there. If action is not taken, you can file a complaint with the EEOC. Any EEOC complaints should be filed with 180 or 300 days of harassment. As you do this, you can consider consulting an employment lawyer. Whatever you choose to do, do not remain silent. Every workplace should have a zero tolerance for harassment. Everyone should be able to go to their place of employment and do their jobs in a safe and healthy environment.
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