Workplace sexual harassment can interfere with your ability to perform your job, but it can also take a significant toll on your mental health. You may feel powerless to stand up for yourself. And you may not realize that there are ways to stop the unwelcome and inappropriate conduct.
Know that taking active steps to resolve the situation is in your best interest, especially if you have a lawyer on your side. Here are strategies to help you end sexual harassment at work:
- Consult your employee handbook or policies: Many employers have a sexual harassment policy in place. If yours does, it is important to follow it. It will detail the protocols and procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints at your work.
- Personally inform the harasser that his/her behavior is offensive: This step can be incredibly difficult for victims of harassment. However, it may also help stop the behavior. If you are not comfortable talking to the harasser, an email or letter can work instead.
- Tell your supervisor or the human resources department: If speaking to the harasser does not lessen the sexual harassment, take your complaint higher up the ladder. Talk to your supervisor. If you do not feel comfortable with that, then speak to human resources.
- Document everything and keep your notes in a safe place: It is important to keep evidence of sexual harassment when possible. Documenting your own actions is also important because it will demonstrate that you followed company protocols for dealing with sexual harassment. Do not take notes on your work computer or leave them at your office. If you do, you may not have access to them when you need them.
- File a complaint with the EEOC: You can file a civil lawsuit for sexual harassment under a federal law known as Title VII. However, you must send your complaint to the EEOC before you can proceed with litigation. The EEOC will conduct an investigation.
- Consider getting legal counsel: It is not always easy to determine what steps you should take. The right course of action varies depending on the situation, as well as company policies and state laws. Consult an attorney for help with your specific matter.
Schedule a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Options
James H. Shoemaker, Jr. has successfully represented clients in harassment cases. He can explain your legal rights and advise you on your potential next steps during a consultation.
Call 757-223-4580 to request a free and confidential case evaluation. As a partner in the renowned firm Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD), Mr. Shoemaker proudly serves clients from Virginia Beach, Hampton Roads, Washington D.C., and across the country.