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  • Writer's pictureDavid Manes

How To Report Sexual Harassment At Work

Report sexual harassment. It’s as simple as that. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, job applicants and employees are protected under law from harassment in the workplace. Unwelcome advances, requested sexual favors, verbal and/or physical harassment define sexual harassment. Derogatory comments about a person’s gender is harassment. And harassment can be same sex or different sex.

When you recognize 

sexual harassment in the workplace, choose to protect others from such inappropriate behavior by speaking out. Feel free to contact an employment lawyer so they can help guide you in the process. If you’re experiencing sexual harassment in your workplace, start within your workplace to report the harassment before you sue your boss for sexual harassment.

The Process To Report Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Check in on the investigation with your employer.

Your employer might want you to participate in the investigation. But if your employer decides not to include you, document it and continue to offer any other written information that you might have. Keep your communication open.

Follow up your face-to-face report with a written report.

Even if your face-to-face meeting has gone well, email a written complaint of the sexual harassment to the person whom you reported the problem. Keep a copy, request a copy be kept in your personnel file, and send your complaint via email. A paper trail builds evidence for your case.

Report sexual harassment to the correct individual.

Your employee handbook should have clear information about how to make a sexual harassment report. Employers must remain impartial. The person who will be investigating your complaint should not have preconceived opinions about you or your harasser. Choose to bring your complaint to a person who is absolutely neutral in this situation and will proceed through the investigation with utmost respect and efficiency.

Refresh your knowledge of the employee handbook.

You should find direction on how to internally report sexual harassment within your company. Review your options carefully. Every company differs on how it handles sexual harassment. Since some handbooks may be more detailed than others, the important thing is that you are aware of what your company considers harassment alongside the law.

Write to the person who has made you uncomfortable.

If a coworker has done something, like name call or violate your personal space too often, send them an email asking them to respect you. Your coworker may have no idea that they’ve crossed your boundaries. However, if the email has no effect, the email becomes evidence that you’ve tried to clear up the issue before reporting the problem.

Meet face-to-face with the person you will make the report to.

Although this may feel awkward, an in-person meeting allows the employer to ask follow-up questions. Your true emotion motivates others more than a cut and dried statement.

Be clear in what happened and what you want.

When you report sexual harassment, detail as much information as possible, rather than just vague accusations. Of course, do not lie. Your honesty and report will help your company investigate the sexual harassment.

Workplace retaliation is illegal.

If you are retaliated against, such as being fired for reporting harassment, you should seek legal counsel immediately. The law protects those who report workplace harassment.

The conclusion of your claim may not be what you wanted. There are quite a few ways that an employer may close the investigation. Your employer may choose to consider the investigation inconclusive or your employer may move you or your harasser to a different department. It’s possible that you may still need to work with this colleague. Not all investigations will end in court or with the colleague being fired.

If the internal investigation is unsatisfactory to you, you have options. Regardless of whether or not your employer followed through on the investigation as you wanted or if the results were not what you hoped, you can contact an employment lawyer. Occasionally, an employer doesn’t take the appropriate steps in these investigations. It may be in your best interest to contact an employment attorney who will know the law and how to sue for sexual harassment.

If you find yourself in the stressful and frustrating situation of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact an employment harassment lawyer who will know how to navigate your case and your rights under the law.

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