How Should I Report Sexual Harassment at Work? – Top Rated Employment Lawyers
The first thing to understand if you are experiencing sexual harassment at work is that you are not alone. A survey in 2018 showed that more than 33% of American employees believe that their workplace fosters a climate of sexual harassment. Regardless of where you work, any form of sexual harassment is inexcusable and deserves immediate and swift legal action. As a victim of sexual harassment at work, your rights are protected by law and you should not fear retaliation or an unsafe outcome if you report your experiences. Dealing with the emotional trauma and pain of sexual harassment at work is challenging, and no one should have to experience that hardship alone.
Understanding Sexual Harassment
Sometimes it can be hard to discern if what you are experiencing at work is sexual harassment or not. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination, and both victim and harasser can be of either gender. To understand the legal repercussions of reporting sexual harassment at work, it is important to know the forms that sexual harassment can take. In a work environment, there are two forms of sexual harassment: a hostile environment and quid pro quo sexual harassment.
In a hostile work environment, demeaning sexual comments and behavior is so persistent and/or severe that it damages your ability to perform your job well. However, isolated lighthearted or casual comments do not typically amount to a hostile work environment as it is defined here. In a hostile work environment, a coworker could target you with:
- Unwelcome, sexually suggestive or disparaging comments
- Repeated requests for dates
- Unwelcome and inappropriate touching
- Offensive gestures or jokes
Steps to Reporting Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Every company handles reports of sexual harassment differently. However, there are some general steps you can take to make sure that your voice is heard and that you receive the justice you deserve. It is important to note that when you report sexual harassment at work, the law protects you from retaliation from your employer or coworkers. You should not fear retaliation, and if you feel you are retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment, this is illegal discrimination and you could be eligible for additional damages.
One of the first steps you could take is asking your sexual harasser to stop their inappropriate behavior. It is best to do this in written form so that you have a physical paper trail that would be helpful in legal proceedings. If, however, you do not feel comfortable with this form of confrontation, make sure to keep detailed records of interactions with your sexual harasser.
Next, consider complaining to your company’s human resources department. This could be done either orally or in a written letter. However, a written complaint serves to strengthen your paper trail should your sexual harassment case be brought to court. It is also important to understand that your company’s HR department is meant to protect the company and not the individuals employed. This can lead to your employer ignoring your report of sexual harassment at work.
If your report of sexual harassment is ignored by your employer, the next thing you should do is report your experiences of sexual harassment at work to a government organization. Some government organizations you could report to are:
- The Fair Employment Practices Agency
- The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
- The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing
However, there is a sensitive statute of limitations for reporting cases of sexual harassment by supervisors in the workforce. California’s government has come to understand that reporting sexual harassment takes time and, most importantly, courage. Because many employees fear retaliation from their supervisors for reporting sexual harassment and do not understand their victim’s rights, the statute of limitations has been extended from one year to three years. It is still important to contact a workplace sexual harassment lawyer in a timely manner, since the legal proceedings can take time.
Speak with a Lawyer Specialized in Sexual Harassment at Work Today.
Here at Miracle Mile Law Group, not only are our lawyers highly trained in dealing with the sensitive issues of a sexual harassment case, but they are also empathetic and highly motivated to make sure your story is heard and understood. However, reporting your experiences of sexual harassment at work is the first step you can take to combat inappropriate culture in the workplace. If you feel like you have been sexually harassed at work, please give us a call at (888) 244-0706 or contact us online for a free consultation. Remember, we do not take a single dollar unless WE WIN!