You could become a victim of workplace sexual harassment at any time. Should this happen, it is the steps that you take afterward that will keep you safe and protect your legal rights.
Here are some of the most important steps to take as a victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment:
- Fight back: Not in a physical sense (unless necessary, of course), but let the person know that you won’t stand for their behavior. When you are stern, there is a greater chance of the person backing down and leaving you alone from that point forward.
- Report the incident: Contact your HR department to learn more about the process of filing a formal complaint. Do not assume that the person will stop just because you told them to do so. Share the details with HR, all while learning more about the steps they will take to protect you.
- Follow-up: It is common for HR departments to take an initial interest in your complaint but forget about it as time passes. That may be easy for them, but you were the one who was a victim of sexual harassment. Follow up shortly after reporting the incident for an update on where things stand.
- Collect evidence: As evidence becomes available, collect it and keep it in a safe place. This can include things such as emails and texts from your harasser or witness statements. Keep this evidence in a secure place, outside of work.
When you take these steps as a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you will feel better about your ability to put an end to the problem, while protecting your legal rights.
If you do not get the satisfaction you are looking for from your employer, consider other options. You may want to file a formal complaint with your state and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
There is nothing to feel bad about if you are the victim of sexual harassment at work. You were put in a bad spot by another person, so take steps to protect yourself and your legal rights.