Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal at the state and federal levels, as is retaliation against an employee who reports such misconduct. Unfortunately, the law does not stop offenders from persisting with inappropriate behaviors, and termination and discrimination are common tactics of employers facing allegations of workplace sexual harassment.
While it can be uncomfortable to speak out about being sexually harassed at work, it is important to do so. Sexual harassers need to be held accountable, as do employers who allow a culture of sexual harassment. Experienced employment attorney, James H. Shoemaker, can help you take the proper steps to file a sexual harassment claim, protect your rights as an employee, and secure compensation for damages.
What is Workplace Sexual Harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment manifests in various ways, including unwanted sexual advances and inappropriate sexual comments. Harassment may come from a superior or a co-worker and can range from hostile environment harassment to quid pro quo harassment. You can learn more about types of sexual harassment here.
What To Know If You Have Been Sexually Harassed at Work
The Law is on Your Side
The first thing to know if you have been sexually harassed at work is that you do not have to tolerate it, and you do not have to fight it on your own. Many harassment victims choose not to report their mistreatment, fearing termination or other retaliatory actions, but this does nothing to stop the perpetrator or restore a safe work environment for you. Talk to Mr. Shoemaker to find out the best way to address sexual harassment in your workplace.
Documentation is Crucial
The second thing to keep in mind is documentation. Keep a record of what was said or done to you, the time, the location, and any witnesses. If you have emails, text messages, or other communications that provide evidence of the harassment, make sure to save them in a safe location. Keeping a record of how you feel, your work productivity, and the response you get when you report the harassment is important as well.
Reporting Sexual Harassment
The first action to take is to report the harassment to your employer. There are many options for doing this, and you should choose the route that feels most comfortable for you. Many employers have anti-harassment policies, which detail your options for reporting an incident. Alternatively, you can speak with a supervisor or the human resources department. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking directly with someone at work, contact Mr. Shoemaker. He can help guide and support you through this difficult step of the process.
Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is tasked with promoting equal opportunities for those in the workplace by preventing and addressing discrimination. This includes sexual harassment. You can file a complaint with the EEOC online, by phone, by mail, or in person at an EEOC office.
Filing a claim is a prerequisite to pursuing a lawsuit, and there are time limits for taking this action. Mr. Shoemaker can advise you on how to effectively present your case, assist you in the filing process, and ensure that you meet all deadlines and documentation requirements. He will pursue any and all relevant avenues for recovering damages and preventing the perpetrator of the harassment from repeating the inappropriate behaviors.
Schedule a Workplace Sexual Harassment Consultation
State and federal law are on your side when it comes to sexual harassment in the workplace, and so is Mr. Shoemaker. With more than two decades of experience, Mr. Shoemaker can help you stand up for yourself and protect others from unacceptable conduct in the workplace. Call 757-223-4580 to schedule a case evaluation. Mr. Shoemaker serves clients in Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, Washington, D.C., and throughout the U.S.