Victims of sexual harassment can often feel powerless, especially if it occurs in the workplace. Many victims have even been told that they should keep quiet about their harassment because there’s not much else they can do. However, a victim of sexual harassment can do a lot to end their problem, which would include both formal steps with lawsuits or informal steps at workplace.
Step 1: Say Something
In some situations of sexual harassment in the workplace, the harasser may not be aware that what they are doing is offensive to you. If you have been the victim of the treatment, the first step you should take is to let the person offending you know that you believe their actions are offensive. In many instances, this will end the problem and the harassment will stop because they did not mean to hurt you or do not want any more tension in the workplace. If the harassment does not end once you have spoken to the offending party, you will need to take further action.
Step 2: Follow Your Company’s Protocol
If the offensive behavior does not end once you have said something, you should look to see if your company has a protocol for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace. If they do, you should ensure that you are following it exactly and pay attention to any time limits listed in the policy. If your company does not have any procedures on how to report sexual harassment, you should tell your immediate supervisor about the harassment. If you are being sexually harassed by your supervisor, you should go to your supervisor’s supervisor to report it. It is very important for your company’s management team to know that the harassment is taking place. It is also very important to keep records of when the harassment happens, any complaints you have made, and any incidents that are related to the sexual harassment.
Step 3: Administrative Charge
If the harassment still does not stop after using your company’s procedures and you intend to further pursue the treatment, you will then have to file an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or your state’s civil rights agency. The agency will look into your claim and try to solve the issue by working with your company. If they are unable to solve your problem and they find that your claim is valid, they will issue a “right to sue” document which allows you to take the case to court.
Step 4: Litigation
If you have been given a letter stating you are able to sue, you can file a civil case for any injuries you may have suffered because of the sexual harassment. There do not need to be any physical injuries. Most of the time the injuries sustained in these types of cases are emotional. If you win your civil lawsuit, you may receive:
- Up to three times the back pay if you lost money or missed a raise
- Lost fringe benefits
- Compensation for emotional distress
- Your company being required to have policies or training to stop harassment
- Reinstatement if you lost your job
If you or someone you know is being harassed at work, contact a lawyer, like a employment litigation lawyer Washington, DC from Eric Siegel Law, to set up a consultation today.