According to a 2015 survey in Cosmopolitan, 1 in 3 women have experienced some degree of sexual harassment. While this comes as absolutely no surprise to the vast majority of women, we’re sure there are some men that are taken aback by this. They might think that, as time has gone on, sexual harassment has gone away. It hasn’t, it’s just changed and mutated into new forms, and any sexual harassment lawyer can attest to that.
When someone is sexually harassed, that’s a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Also, many people think of sexual harassment as overly aggressive physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature, unwelcome advances or requests for sexual favors. That’s true, but it can also involve postings on social media or an insinuating comment made in a meeting. If you encounter a situation like this, read on for a few tips on what to do next.
Let’s face it, many of us are taught to not make waves and be a team player. But if you’re confronted or put in an uncomfortable position, you absolutely have the right to defend yourself or tell a harasser to back off.
The survey also mentioned that, of the women who reported being harassed in some fashion, 29% decided to report the situation, whereas 71% didn’t. We completely understand that stepping forwards can be intimidating for numerous reasons, and some people opt to just disregard what happened. Make sure to share your experience in as direct a way as possible. You might not be the only one experiencing this, and by your reporting the situation, you might be the one to make it stop.
When it comes to harassment issues, it’s a very wise move to document everything. Try to collect any possible evidence, such as video and audio recordings, photos, emails or other written correspondences, and names of witnesses. Even more importantly, make sure to note the date, time, and place of the incident.
Next, make sure to report the incident to your employer. The fact is, it’s the responsibility of your company to make sure this doesn’t happen and protect employees. Once they have been notified, they are expected to take action against sexual harassment quickly, decisively and fairly. In most companies, you can either speak to an HR representative or someone assigned to be the EEO (Equal Employment Opportunity) officer.
One of the most important aspects of filing a sexual harassment complaint is the expectation that your confidentiality will be protected. Not only will that protect you while an investigation is being conducted, it’s also a smart move for your business. Confidentiality can help to minimize the likelihood of inciting other complaints, along with other issues.
Remember that, if you don’t feel like you’re being taken seriously or if nothing is being done, you can and should consult an attorney specializing in employment and discrimination law. We hope you’ll never need to use any of these tips, but please join us tomorrow for more tips to help streamline the process and help you understand your rights a little clearer.
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