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Dealing with harassment when HR does nothing

If a worker in California or elsewhere is being harassed, it may be possible to go to HR to resolve the issue. However, HR doesn’t always have the best interests of an employee in mind when dealing with such issues. In some cases, employees may not even know who to talk with or be able to locate that person in a timely or convenient manner.

In most cases, workers must go to HR as their first course of action to give their employers a chance to investigate. Ideally, the accuser will be interviewed as well as those who are accused of harassment. Of course, it is possible that HR will be either neutral or actively hostile against an accuser. If the matter isn’t resolved after talking with a company representative, it may be possible to take legal action under the federal Civil Rights Act.

It is important that someone document any harassment that he or she experiences. Those who believe that they have been harassed need to file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of the harassing behavior. Companies that have fewer than 15 employees may be exempt from federal law, but state law may offer varying levels of protection.

Those who experience unwanted sexual advances or other forms of harassment may be victims of illegal behavior in the workplace. An attorney may help a worker that has been demoted, terminated or otherwise subjected to a hostile working environment obtain compensation or other relief. If an employee was terminated after making a complaint, he or she may be entitled to his or her job back with full pay and benefits like it never happened.