Often, people don't think of sexual harassment in the workplace as something that can happen to them. However, when it happens, it can be incredibly damaging to the victim, often creating trauma that can be hard to reverse. That's why this article will review what you can do if you're a victim of sexual harassment at work, so you can reclaim your power and make sure it never happens again to you or anyone else at your workplace.
After you experience sexual harassment at your job, you should first determine how seriously your workplace takes sexual harassment. Unfortunately, not all facilities are the same; some have more lax policies than others or ignore accusations of sexual harassment. So, review your company's policies to help you determine what course of action to take.
For example, your company may have specific steps as to who you're supposed to inform of the incident and how to report it properly.
Ideally, you should document everything that happened, such as where, when, and how the sexual harassment occurred. Although this is not always possible, try your best to recall and record these details as soon as you can. You’ll also want to keep track of, and maintain, any digital or physical evidence such as correspondence, recordings, performance reviews, and corroborating statements of friends and fellow employees.
It's best practice to keep all this compiled information outside your workspace to prevent discovery or evidence tampering.
Before contacting a lawyer, you should assess how far you want to take your claim. For example, a serious sexual harassment claim can lead to a criminal case if evidence of a criminal act is uncovered. Sometimes, simply standing your ground can stop a harasser, but only if you feel safe doing so. Never put yourself in unnecessary danger by confronting your harasser. Ultimately, you can talk to a lawyer to learn your options and decide what's best for you.
Suppose you do decide to contact a sexual harassment attorney. In that case, they will inform you that you must file a claim through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if you haven't done so already. Afterward, they will contact your employer and inform them of the next steps. These steps range from organizing compensation to a criminal case.
Now that you know what to do if you are a victim of sexual assault at work, you're armed with the knowledge to hold the alleged harasser accountable and ensure you get fair compensation.