Dealing With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: How to Take the Right Steps to Overcome the Situation
Are you a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace? Unfortunately it happens far too often, and it tends to get ignored or swept under the rug because many victims are too afraid to speak up about what they are going through. You may feel scared, nervous, or worried about speaking out against the person who has been sexually harassing you while you are trying to work because you do not want to lose your job and your source of income. But you do not deserve to deal with this kind of harassment and you have a right to stand up for yourself. There are certain steps you can take to protect yourself while making sure the harasser is held accountable for his or her actions.
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Understanding Sexual Harassment
If you feel like you are being sexually harassed and you let someone in higher position at work know about what is going on, they may have told you that you are being dramatic, silly or too sensitive. They may have tried to make you feel like you are crazy for even thinking that someone is sexually harassing you while you are at work, which is a form of manipulation that is commonly referred to as gaslighting. It is important to understand the specific behaviors that fall under the category of sexual harassment. Those behaviors include:
- Making sexual advances toward you
- Touching you in an inappropriate manner
- Talking inappropriately to you
- Requesting sexual favors in exchange for raises or fair treatment in the workplace
These are just a few of the different ways a person can sexually harass another person in the workplace. If these are the kinds of things that have happened to you, you have a right to report it. If the person you originally went to did not take the situation seriously and take action to stop it, you should consider contacting someone above them or in the Human Resources department. Some employers also have confidential reporting hotlines. But we also recommend that folks making these kinds of complaints do so in writing if possible so that there can be no confusion later about what was reported and so that it is harder for an employer to ignore the complaint and “sweep it under the rug”
If your concerns are not addressed, or worse, if your employer retaliates against you for making a complaint.
Why Get a Lawyer Involved?
Did you know that sexually harassing someone is illegal? As we are hearing in the news, it happens far too often and it is unacceptable. You have a right to work in an environment free from harassment. You do not have to put up with harassment to keep your job and support your family.
Contacting a lawyer to represent you is important because they can help help you understand your rights and how to protect them. Sexual harassment, including unwanted sexual advances, are illegal but navigating the legal process can be technical and tricky. An experienced attorney can help guide you through it and protect you from further harassment and, what is also all too common, retaliation for making a complaint or report in the first place.
Victims of harassment in the workplace deserve to have their voices heard and it is an experienced sexual harassment lawyer who can make sure that happens. You may be going through a lot right now, but with help from an experienced lawyer, you can make a stand in the workplace that lets others know that this type of harassment is not acceptable and you can help ensure that it does not happen to you or anyone else again. Through a lawsuit, EEOC Charge, or both, you can also recover damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering caused by the illegal sexual harassment.