Sexual harassment happens when any unwelcome sexual conduct or advance creates a hostile, offensive, or intimidating work environment. This conduct can significantly affect your performance and make you less productive.
Both men and women can commit acts which would constitute sexual harassment, though statistics show that most complaints are filed by women. It should be noted that individuals of the same gender are also capable of harassing each other. For example, a male employee may feel uncomfortable because his male co-workers often make him the subject of different sexual jokes.
If you are subjected to sexual harassment, here are six ways on how you can deal with the situation:
- Write down all the instances when the harassment occurred. Make a detailed and accurate description of what happened, including the harasser's specific actions like making malicious jokes or asking you out on a date. Do not forget to list down the names of the people who have witnessed it.
- Talk to the harasser and tell him that you are deeply bothered by his offensive actions. He may not be aware the way his actions are affecting you so it is better if you tell him what you feel. He may apologize to you and all the people he has offended if he sees the negative effects of his actions.
- Talk to your co-employees who have seen the harasser telling the malicious jokes or making unwanted advances. If the harasser refuses to apologize or admit his guilt, be prepared to report the incident to your employer or take legal action. The testimonies of your co-workers will help prove that all your allegations are true.
- Read the employment handbook to know the company's rules about sexual harassment. These rules will likely inform you about the "reporting system" that is being implemented in the company, meaning the steps that you should follow if you want to file a complaint.
- You can file a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) if your employer or the Human Resources (HR) personnel failed to address the issue. You are allowed to file it within 180-300 days after the alleged violation occurred.
Once the agency receives your complaint, it will conduct an investigation to find out if you were subjected to sexual harassment.
- Seek legal aid from a Los Angeles employment law attorney. Having a legal expert on your side will increase your chances of winning the case. Your attorney will help in establishing the other party's fault by gathering documents that support your claims or allegations.
This article is not meant to be interpreted as a legal advice. To know the available legal options regarding your case, consult an Employment Law Attorney for more information.