10 Jan Harassment at work
There is no easy or delicate way to talk about sexual harassment or sexual assault. So what you are about to read is blunt and perhaps uncomfortable. As an individual experiencing a harassing behavior or a business owner needing to investigate a complaint, you have options. This content does not represent legal counsel and we recommend you seek the advice of an attorney irregardless.
Thirty-five percent of all women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work. They aren’t alone. Sixteen percent of sexual harassment complaints are filed by men.
If you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work, you might feel lost or powerless. You’re not. There are steps you can take to protect yourself. Nobody deserves to feel uncomfortable at work.
These five essential tips will show you exactly what to do if you suffer sexual harassment in the workplace.
What is Sexual Harassment?
By definition, sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual contact. This isn’t restricted to physical contact. Sexual harassment can be joking, telling sex stories, or even obvious leering.
What Can Be Done About Sexual Harassment at Work?
When dealing with sexual harassment at work, there are five important things you need to do. Each step has the potential to end the harassment. If you tell someone you’re uncomfortable, they might stop.
If a person doesn’t stop, continue to the next step. Unfortunately, sexual harassment doesn’t always end because someone has decided to say something.
1. Tell Them You’re Uncomfortable
The first step is to tell the person what they’ve done makes you uncomfortable. Sometimes people don’t know what they’re doing is inappropriate. If a person is truly not meaning to harass you, they’ll stop their behaviors.
2. Document It
If you’ve brought your discomfort to someone’s attention and they don’t stop, begin to document. Keep a notebook. Write down the time and what happened at each occurrence to establish a pattern.
If possible, keep any texts, emails, or voicemails in which a person is sexually harassing you. If your life feels threatened, you can use audio or video recording to document the instances.
Some jobs have cameras that will provide further proof the harassment has occurred. You might need a subpoena to get these.
3. Report to HR
The human resource department at your job should deal with any issues of harassment. Some jobs have a special team meant to deal with these issues.
You don’t need documentation before reporting the issue to HR. It will likely help you make a case. Human resources will need proof before they’re able to take steps.
It’s important to note that witnesses are considered proof. If other coworkers were witnesses to the sexual harassment, let HR know. They’ll ask them about the incident.
4. Report to Police
There are two times you should report sexual harassment in the workplace to the police. The first reason is if HR refuses to do anything about the incident despite the evidence.
If sexual harassment is serious enough, you can skip the other steps and go straight to the police. If you were cornered or a coworker attempted to rape you, go directly to the police.
In the unfortunate and horrific event you were sexually assaulted in the workplace, go straight to the emergency room. The emergency room will call the police for you.
5. Consult A Lawyer
If you’ve been the victim of severe or ongoing sexual harassment, you should consult a lawyer. They can help you determine what your next move should be. They can also help you understand your rights.
Have You Been Sexually Harassed?
Do you feel like you’ve been the victim of sexual harassment at work? Or do you have sexual harassment issues at your place of business?
Contact us today and see how we can help.