The #MeToo movement shined a much-needed spotlight on sexual harassment in the workplace. But still many people don’t know what to do when they are sexually harassed.
Below are a few steps on what do to if you’re sexually harassed at work.
1. Keep all emails and texts
Save all written communications related to sexual harassment such as emails, texts or other messaging platforms. Save them in a location where your company or harasser can’t get them. For example, send them to a secure personal email account for safekeeping. Try not to keep this documentation on your work phone or computer. You will need access to this evidence in case you’re terminated for filing a sexual harassment complaint.
2. Create written records of any in-person harassment
Sexual harassment often occurs through in-person interactions instead of through email, text or other written communication. If that happens, memorialize in writing what happened – include the date, time, place, and the name of the harasser. Also, write down any promises, threats, sexual or disparaging comments that were made. If anyone witnessed it, write down their names as well. Don’t worry if there aren’t any witnesses. Harassers are careful and typically act when no one else is around.
Keep any notes related to the sexual harassment from your work colleagues and the harasser. Store your notes at home or in your secure, personal email account.
3. Review the workplace policy on sexual harassment
Check your employer’s sexual harassment policies. These are typically available on your employer’s website or in the employee handbook. Ask your supervisor or the Human Resources department for a copy, if the sexual harassment policies are not listed on the website or in the employee handbook. Follow the procedure identified in your employer’s sexual harassment policy for filing a sexual harassment complaint.
4. Reporting the harassment
Report the harassment in writing. This will help you avoid a “he said, she said” situation. If you feel comfortable, tell the harasser to stop.
5. File a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)
Contact the EEOC or DFEH to have an independent agency to investigate workplace harassment.
The EEOC or DFEH will investigate the incident and may try to mediate or settle the dispute. If the EEOC or DFEH can’t successfully resolve the dispute, a Right to Sue Letter will be issued.
6. Find a Workplace Harassment Lawyer
If your employer has threatened, demoted, fired, or retaliated against you for filing a sexual harassment complaint, then hiring an attorney is crucial. Contact a lawyer or law firm that specializes in workplace harassment.
If you were sexually harassed, contact a Beverly Hills workplace harassment lawyer at Seber Bulger Law.