6 Steps to Take When Facing Sexual Harassment
Office workplace is one of the most common places for sexual harassment to take place. The problem is that many workers that get sexually harassed don’t do anything to fight back. It is wrong to keep quiet about it. If you report the harassers, you can get back a justice. The following are 6 steps to take when you face sexual harassment.
Decide on the Outcome
The first step is to understand what outcome you are expecting from pursuing a sexual harassment case. Do you want to claim monetary compensation? Do you want the person to be removed from the company? Once you have decided what you want, you can decide how much budget you are willing to set aside. Most people just want the harassment to come to a stop. Usually, people will seek monetary compensation when the harassment become serious and cause problems like reduced income and mental pressure.
Take Notes of the Evidence
After you get harassed, you should start taking notes like what the harasser said, did he touch you, and how did he bully you. You should also keep a note of the time the incident happened and the names of the witnesses. In addition, you should also save physical evidence like pornographic photos or clothing with fluid on it. If the harassment becomes even worse, you will have evidence to show to the employer in the complaint you file.
Confront with the Harasser
If it keeps on continue, you should confront the harasser. You must be bold and tell the harasser that you are not pleased with what he is doing. You must tell him that what he is doing is offensive and you want him to stop immediately. If the harasser get warning, he may feel intimidated and back off. If you are afraid, you can ask someone to accompany you to confront the harasser.
File a Complaint with the Employer
If the harasser did not listen to your warning, you can proceed to file the complaint with your employer. In many companies, there is a policy that the employee must first file sexual harassment with the employer before he can file a lawsuit. You may want to reference the company handbook to understand the procedure for reporting the complaint.
File the Case at Federal or State Level
If the employer did not help you to resolve the issue, you can file the case with a federal or state agency. You can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) at the federal level. All claims with EEOC must be filed within 180 days starting from the day the incident take place. If you want to file at the state level, you should file your charges with the Fair Employment Practices Agency. The state agency has a longer time limit allowing you to file the claim within 300 days from the date of the harassment. If the agencies could not help you solve the complaint, they will issue you a right to sue letter. This letter is an approval that you can now take your case to a lawyer and sue the harasser.
Seek Counsel from a Sexual Harassment Attorney
Even before filing a lawsuit, you can seek counsel from a sexual harassment lawyer. The lawyer can tell you whether the claim is pursuable in a state or federal level. He can represent you in negotiating for compensation with the employer. Many lawyers that handle cases involving victims suffering from discrimination work on a contingency basis. You can contact the state bar association for recommendations on a few lawyers that specializes in sexual harassment.