Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal so you should not be keeping quiet about it. Sexual harassment is being protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits any sort of workplace discrimination in terms of sex, race, color, country, and religion. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees. It also prohibits retaliation when the person files a charge or lawsuit. The following are 5 things you can do when you are faced with sexual harassment.
- Indicate Clearly that the Sexual Advances is Unwelcomed
When you are sexually harassed, you must state clearly to him that you are uncomfortable with his behavior. If you are afraid of talking to the person’s face to face, you can send an email or SMS instead. The message you send electronically can also be used as evidence that you are uncomfortable with the sexual advances made by the other party.
- Record the Evidence for the Sexual Harassment
You should start taking action on recording the evidence if you keep getting harassed even after warning the other party. This includes keeping a note of the time, place, people present, and a detailed account of the sexual harassment behavior. If the harasser sends you an email or SMS, be sure to keep it in your inbox. It is even better if you can record the entire incident on a camera or voice recorder. This evidence will be useful in helping you in your claim when you decide to seek help from a sexual harassment lawyer.
- Report to the HR Department
When you get sexually harassed, you must report it to the HR department as soon as possible. If you cannot contact the HR department, you should be able to talk with a superior about the problem. You must give them a chance to resolve the situation. You can provide the HR department with all the evidence you have collected and also bring along witnesses who saw how you get sexually harassed.
Even if you decide to resign, you should first report the matter so that they can take action against the perpetrator. If you have witnesses, they will ask for their names. The witness must be able to speak honestly to give an account of the incident. You can ask the HR department to give a written clarification on how they will carry out the investigation.
- File a Charge with the EEOC
If nothing is done after complaining to the HR department, you can file a charge with the EEOC state agency. The EEOC can help you to prosecute the case sometimes. However, usually, they will issue a right to sue letter. There is a time limit of 180 – 300 days of the most recent incident for filing a charge with the EEOC. Federal employees only have 45 days to report sexual harassment. Missing these deadlines will prevent you from filing a lawsuit with a sexual harassment attorney and get the compensation you deserve from making a legal claim.
- Facing Retaliation
It is normal to face retaliation after reporting about sexual harassment in the workplace. For example, you are excluded from some of your responsibilities but the supervisor uses a different excuse that is not relevant to the sexual harassment case. The boss may also decide to fire you when you report about the sexual harassment. So, before filing a claim, you should come up with another plan that can help you turn around the retaliatory actions you may face.