Reporting sexual harassment in the workplace is the first step to stopping it
Sexual harassment is a pervasive problem in all kinds of workplaces. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual harassment, you need to take action by reporting it. Here are some important things to know about reporting sexual harassment in the workplace.
Consider Confronting the Harasser
If you feel comfortable doing so, discussing harassing behavior with the person doing it can often be the simplest and most direct way to resolve a sexual harassment problem. The perpetrator might not realize that their behavior is inappropriate or unwelcome, so you need to tell them that it is—preferably in writing so you can have documentation. If the perpetrator continues the behavior knowing you find it objectionable, you will then have stronger grounds for a formal complaint.
You Have Choices as to Who You Report Harassment To
When you think about reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, you probably think about going to your boss. But what if your boss is the one harassing you? Or what if they have a close relationship with the harasser? Fortunately, you have other options as to who you speak to about harassment. Typically, this will include your boss’s boss or an HR representative. Check your employee handbook for guidelines.
An “Inconclusive” Investigation Is Still Valuable
In some cases, there is not enough information for the employer to determine whether or not sexual harassment took place, and the investigation will be labeled “inconclusive.” This can be frustrating for victims of sexual harassment. They may even feel like the experience has been in vain. This is not the case—it is common practice for HR staff to keep records of inconclusive investigations and attach them to the alleged perpetrator’s personnel file. Personnel records are taken into account when reviewing sexual harassment claims, which means that having been the subject of an investigation in the past may make it more difficult for a harasser to get away with inappropriate behavior the next time someone makes a complaint.
You Can Get Outside Help
If you feel that your employer did not take your complaint seriously or investigate it properly, you may have the option of elevating the issue by filing a complaint with the EEOC. Before you take this step, you will definitely want to consult an experienced sexual harassment attorney. You can actually consult an attorney at any time, even before you report harassment to your employer. Your attorney can help you understand your rights, advise you on how to document the harassment, and represent you if and when you make your complaint to the EEOC.
If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, The Law Offices of Larry H. Parker is here for you. Call us at 800-333-0000 for a free initial consultation.