Being sexually harassed at work can ratchet the usual workplace stress up to a new level. If you are encountering this type of harassment, your work days can become miserable, and it can soon become obvious that this type of behavior does not simply go away on its own. You should know that you don't have to put up with this demeaning and demoralizing behavior. Read on to find out what steps you can take to fight sexual harassment in your workplace.
Two Main Types of Sexual Harassment
1. Quid Pro Quo is a Latin term that can be roughly translated to "something for something." Normally, with this type of harassment, the employee's supervisor makes unwanted advances toward the employee, then retaliates against the employee when rebuffed. The retaliation usually comes in the form of work-related punitive actions, such as exclusion from meetings and communications and being passed over for promotions.
2. A hostile work environment is a more subtle form of sexual harassment and can involve several harassers. Common signs of a hostile work environment include sexually explicit emails, jokes, cartoons, artwork and more. Both co-workers and supervisors may harass the victim with repeated and unwanted requests for sexual favors.
What To Do
- Inform the harasser in writing that you are offended by their actions.
- Use company guidelines to report the offending behavior to the appropriate supervisors or to human resources.
- Take careful notes of each incident of harassment and how you handled the behavior.
The Next Steps
If you are being retaliated against for speaking up about the harassment or if your complaints seem to be falling on deaf ears, take the following actions:
- File a complaint with your state's pertinent employment commission and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
- Retain legal representation. An attorney can assist you to resolve the issue, even if you never take your employer to court. Your attorney can:
- Put your employer on formal notice that you are serious about the sexual harassment by sending a letter to your supervisor or co-workers. This letter will detail how the harassment has impacted your ability to do your job and the steps you have taken thus far to resolve the issue.
- Assist you with filing formal complaints with the proper authorities, as well as filing suit in court if necessary.
The longer you put off taking steps to put a stop to this harassment, the more difficult it will be to prove that the unwanted behavior caused you harm. If you wait until you have been fired to complain, you could end up appearing as a disgruntled former employee. For more information, contact Davis George Mook or a similar legal professional.