Steps to Take If You Are Being Sexually Harassed in The WorkplaceNovember 17, 2022
If you have been sexually harassed at work, unfortunately, you are not alone. Approximately five million workers are sexually harassed in the workplace every single year, but 99.8% of workers who experience workplace sexual harassment do not file formal charges. Likewise, of the workers who file charges, only about 1,500 people take their cases to court. The main reason for this is that, even if it’s illegal, most employers retaliate against workers who complain about sexual harassment.
But it’s crucial to report sexual harassment to hold the harasser liable under the law and to help ensure that it doesn’t happen to other people.
What You Should Do If You Experience Sexual Harassment in The Workplace
The first thing you should do is review your employer’s sexual harassment policy, which should explain the specific steps you must take when reporting sexual harassment and how the company handles complaints. You should also speak to coworkers that you trust and ask around if any of them have experienced harassment as well. Next, you should:
- If it’s safe and possible to confront the harasser, do so. Tell them about the specific behavior or incident that you felt sexually harassed and tell them to stop. Make sure to use specific examples when talking about the incident or behavior. After speaking to the harasser, write down exactly what happened.
- If the harasser doesn’t stop harassing you or if you’re not comfortable confronting them, follow your company guidelines for reporting sexual harassment incidents. Explain the circumstances surrounding the incident, and make sure to include detailed notes. If you reported the incident verbally, make sure to follow up with an email or letter to confirm that you have reported the incident.
- If you feel that your employer is not doing anything about your complaint, you should file your complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Take note that complaints filed with either of these agencies will be cross-filed automatically, so you should choose which agency to file your complaint.
The agency will investigate your complaint and review the sexual harassment incident and its context and take appropriate action depending on their findings. At this point, you should consider consulting with a Santa Barbara sexual harassment lawyer, especially if you’ve filed your claim and you feel your employer will retaliate against you or has already retaliated against you.
If the agency’s investigation and attempts to negotiate with the employer fail to achieve fair results, your lawyer can file a lawsuit seeking damages under state and federal laws.
Reach Out to Our Seasoned Santa Barbara Sexual Harassment Attorney Now
Sexual harassment, regardless of where it occurred, can be isolating and traumatic. If you’ve been sexually harassed in your workplace, remember that you have legal options to fix the situation and pursue damages. Contact Bamieh & De Smeth at 805-643-5555 or online to learn more about your case and set up a free consultation with our Santa Barbara sexual harassment attorney.