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Take action after sexual harassment at work

If you are a victim of sexual harassment at work, you have two options. Take immediate action to protect yourself and your legal rights, or hope that the person stops without being pressed to do so.

You should never have to work in an environment where sexual harassment is a concern. There are steps you can take to better your situation, including the following:

  • Speak your mind: Start by telling your harasser they need to stop, right away. If that doesn't work after one warning, let your human resources (HR) department know what's happening. Speaking up is often times all it takes to make progress.
  • Follow your employer's guidelines: You can usually find information on reporting sexual harassment in your employee handbook. This will provide a template for the action you should take if you find yourself in this position.
  • Follow up: It's one thing to ask your company for help, but another thing entirely for them to give it. Follow up often to ensure that they're looking into your claim and working to solve the problem.
  • File an administrative charge: If you don't make any progress by using your company's internal reporting procedure, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the appropriate department within your state government.
  • File a lawsuit: It's a step most people don't want to take, but you shouldn't feel bad about doing so if it means protecting your legal rights and employment. Through litigation you can fight for things such as compensation, reinstatement (if you lost your job) and damages for the emotional impact.

When you know your legal rights and how to take action, you may never have to concern yourself with sexual harassment at work ruining your life.

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