Many people are not sure of what constitutes sexual harassment and, as a result, are unsure whether that's what they’re experiencing. According to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.” If you feel that you have a case for sexual harassment, continue reading to determine what you should do.
Don’t Quit. Since being sexually harassed is something that is embarrassing, hurtful, and uncomfortable, many employees quit as soon as something happens. Many people aren’t aware that in some states, when you quit, you could be surrendering your sexual harassment claims. Check out your company’s policies about this form of harassment and follow protocol. According to the Supreme Court, the company must have the opportunity to address and attempt to fix the situation before you have any basis for a claim or lawsuit.
Document It. Regardless of what your company’s policy is with regards to sexual harassment, it’s important to put your complaint in writing. Be very detail-oriented and include every comment, e-mail, and occurrence where the harassment took place. Always provide a copy to the person you report your claim to and also keep one for yourself. Furthermore, record when and to whom you reported the claim and keep copies of all correspondence and conversations about the issue.
Remember: It doesn’t have to be sexual. Although most people think sexual harassment is all sexually related, it’s not. Sexual harassment, as mentioned above, can also mean being harassed because you’re a male or female. You may feel that you’re given certain work, or less work, or more work because of your gender. Even that can be sexual harassment and needs to be reported according to your company’s policies.
You may still have to work with the harasser. Although there are laws against sexual harassment, they do not necessitate firing the harasser. The company that employs you must address the situation, which may mean disciplining the harasser, transferring you, or mandating workplace training. Many people don’t report harassment for this reason. They fear having to see the person each day after reporting them. Don’t use this as an excuse to let the behavior continue. Report it right away so that it doesn’t happen again to you, or someone else.
If you still fear going into work each day, it may be time to contact a private investigator, like us at National Investigations Inc., so that we can take the wheel and launch our own inquiry into the matter. We are very experienced in handling claims regarding sexual harassment for corporate and attorneys. Don’t hesitate to reach out and make use of our expertise.