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Young woman sits at a desk at work while her male colleague hovers behind her with his hand inappropriately on her shoulder

What Should I Do if I’m Sexually Harassed at Work?

Experiencing sexual harassment at work is unacceptable and inexcusable. After all, you probably spend more time at work than you do at home, so it should be a comfortable and safe place for you to go.

Sexual harassment can be very traumatic and should not be taken likely when it occurs. If it happens to you, it’s important to know how to effectively deal with the situation so that you can begin the road to recovery as soon as possible.

Read on to learn more about the steps to take after experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Tell the Harasser You Won’t Accept Their Behavior

If possible, try to make it clear by explaining to your harasser that their behavior is unwanted and will not be tolerated.

Certain circumstances can make you feel uncomfortable confronting your harasser in such a direct manner, and that’s okay. If you don’t feel comfortable directly confronting the person harassing you, it may be suitable to use indirect methods of getting your point across.

Regardless, simply making your harasser aware that their actions are unwelcome may be enough for them to stop.

Report the Harassment

If you don’t feel safe enough to confront your harasser in any capacity, you may want to skip that step and go straight to reporting the harassment to the appropriate person at your place of work.

Your workplace has a responsibility to keep you safe from sexual harassment, and this is particularly true if you are an employee. Report the harassment to upper management or Human Resources (someone with decision-making authority) and request that something is done to put a stop to it.

If your workplace has specific sexual harassment reporting processes, be sure to follow them. Make your complaint in writing and have a trusted witness with you when you submit your complaint if you can. Do what you can to obtain tangible evidence that your employer truly received your complaint, along with the date and time you filed it. Retain a copy of the report you submit to your employer.

Most of the time, an employer may only be held liable for failing to follow discrimination laws if they are provided with a notice of sexual harassment and are given a chance to effectively solve the problem.

Oblige with Your Employer’s Investigation

If your employer offers to provide any preventative or corrective options to help alleviate the issue, take advantage of them. This will not only show your employer that you are willing to cooperate with them, but it will also help bolster your case if you need to take legal action.

Liability for Sexual Harassment at Work

There are a number of parties that may be held liable if you endure sexual harassment in the workplace, including:

  • Your employer, if:
    • They have authority over you and directly participated in the harassment.
      • Examples include business owners, managers, partners, corporate officers, or supervisors.
    • They knew or should have known that you were being sexually harassed and failed to act promptly and effectively to make it stop.
  • Individual supervisors or managers if their own behavior is directly discriminatory.
    • For example, only promoting men, even though there are plenty of qualified women.
  • A union or its representatives.
  • An employment agency.
  • Religious organizations, although these institutions tend to have some protection from liability as a result of religious freedom.

Hire a Skilled Workplace Sexual Harassment Attorney

Workplace sexual harassment cases can be nuanced and complicated. Having a skilled attorney on your side to help prove your case can make all the difference in the outcome.

Our attorneys have helped many others who have sustained abuse in the workplace and we will do everything we can to fight for justice on your behalf too. Don’t delay—reach out to our skilled team right away to learn more about what we can do to help with your case.

Contact our team of skilled attorneys today with the details of your case by calling (800) 543-4829 or by filling out the online contact form.

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