If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, it is important to act quickly to protect yourself and protect your right to pursue legal action if you desire. If you are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, take the following three steps to protect yourself and your rights to a legal remedy.
- Speak Up
- If you feel under attack, speak up immediately if it is safe to do so. Never downplay the importance of standing up for yourself; you are entitled to a safe work environment. Often times, the responsible party or parties may not realize they are out of line. If it is safe to do so, immediately tell the offending party that you find their conduct offensive.
- Follow your employer’s discrimination policy
- All employers should have a clearly defined harassment and/or discrimination policy outlined in your Employee Handbook. This policy should provide step-by-step directions for reporting the abuse. It should also indicate how to properly file a complaint. Remember, you are legally protected from any acts of retaliation. It is your right to report any workplace harassment and participate in any resulting investigation or lawsuit.
- If for any reason, your employer does not have a harassment and/or discrimination policy, bring your complaint to your immediate supervisor, or the offender’s supervisor.
- Keep Record
- Keep a record of all communications referencing your complaint and include dates, times, persons involved, and what was said.
Sexual Harassment Litigation
If your employer is unable to resolve your complaint in a satisfactory manner, and you wish to pursue the matter further, you will likely need to file an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s human rights or civil rights enforcement agency. There are specific time limits for filing charges, so be sure to contact the appropriate agency as soon as possible. It is important to understand that you are always entitled to contact the EEOC and do not need to wait for your employer to remedy the situation. Even if you don’t want to pursue a complaint, you can speak to an EEOC counselor for insight and resources.
Once you file an official complaint with a governmental agency, they will then proceed to investigate your complaint and work to resolve the issue with your employer. If the agency cannot resolve your complaint, and it determines that your claim is a valid one, it will issue a “right to sue” letter. This letter means that you may bring your case to court.
Once you have a “right to sue” letter, you are able to bring a lawsuit against the offender for any injuries, physical or emotional, you may have incurred.
In 2018, the EEOC filed 41 harassment lawsuits including allegations of sexual harassment, representing a 50 percent increase in suits challenging sexual harassment over the previous year. Nearly $70 million was rewarded to the victims of sexual harassment through litigation and administrative enforcement.
Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Talk to an experienced employee rights attorney to ensure you receive the retributions you are entitled to. In Sexual Harassment cases, your chances of maximizing compensation are improved when you are represented by the right attorney – one who knows how to protect you and fight to negotiate claims on your behalf.
If you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace and wish to pursue legal action, are unsure if you have a case, or simply need to review a chain of events with a lawyer, contact The Usman Law Firm today.