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Workers: Responding to sexual harassment

Earlier this month, we discussed some issues that employers should consider when responding to sexual harassment claims filed by their workers. When employers respond to sexual harassment claims appropriately and with respect, employees may ultimately feel more confident in the safe nature of their work environments. However, not all employers respond to sexual harassment claims appropriately. Therefore, it is important that workers consider taking a few precautionary steps after they have been sexually harassed.

First, it is important for workers to understand that the law generally protects employees from sexual harassment in the workplace. Therefore, if you or someone you care about is being sexually harassed, it is important to consider speaking with an experienced attorney who will help you protect your rights.

Second, it is important to document instances of sexual harassment after they occur. If you possess emails, notes or other evidence of the unacceptable behavior, please save them. Otherwise, please write down the time, date, location and other circumstances of the sexual harassment for your later reference. Also document any comments, behavior or treatment that could potentially be considered sexual harassment. Do not worry about whether every comment reflects the legal standard of sexual harassment or not. Your attorney will be able to sort through the details and explain to you whether you have any legal options in your particular situation.

Finally, you will likely need to report the behavior formally to your human resources department or a higher-level employee of the company. However, if the individual sexually harassing you is your boss and you work in a small business scenario, this reporting may not be possible. If you have questions about reporting inappropriate conduct, please consult your attorney.

Source: AOL Jobs, “How Do I Prove Sexual Harassment?” Donna Ballman, June 10, 2014

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