As an employee, you deserve to work in a safe environment. But even if your employer does its part, it doesn’t mean that every employee will comply with the rules, terms and conditions that have been set forth.
Should you become a victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment, here are the steps you should take:
- Tell the harasser to stop: Don’t let this issue linger, as you’ll give the person reason to believe it’s okay. Immediately tell them to stop. Don’t mince words or turn it into a joke. Sexual harassment is serious, and you want to nip it in the bud as quickly as you can.
- Report the incident: Even if you have reason to believe that the person will stop, you should still formally report the incident to the HR department. This way, should the behavior continue in the future, there’s a record of your original complaint.
- Collect evidence: Don’t assume that the HR department will collect evidence related to your complaint. You should do this on your own, such as by printing out emails or saving text messages from the person harassing you. Also, if anyone else witnessed the harassment, ask them if they’re comfortable sharing what they saw with the HR department.
- Stay on your toes: By this point, you hope that things are returning to normal. However, depending on the circumstances surrounding your complaint, you could be in for more trouble. For example, if you filed a complaint about your supervisor, they may attempt to retaliate by demoting you or terminating your position.
When you take these steps, you’re doing everything you can to protect yourself and your legal rights as an employee.
If things don’t calm down but instead worsen, you should take additional steps to protect yourself. For example, if you’re the victim of retaliation as the result of filing a sexual harassment complaint, you may be able to take legal action against your employer.
In addition to working with your HR department, you can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They can then investigate the situation to get to the bottom of the problem.