Sexual harassment in the workplace is a difficult situation and I am often asked how to handle things. When you are faced with a harasser, remember that every situation is different. The following suggestions should be adjusted to meet your situation and level of comfort.

What To Do if You Believe You Are Being Sexual Harassed:

Tell the harasser.

Without any room for confusion, tell the harasser that their attention, comments, jokes, emails, etc., is unwanted. Tell him or her exactly what they have done— name the behavior and be specific. Let him or her know that he or she should stop the offending behavior, immediately without exception or delay. You may want to write the harasser a letter. Make sure to keep a copy for your records somewhere safe besides at work.

Document the harassment.

Keep a log of what is happening—include each incident and the time, place, and witnesses of each incident. Make your entries as detailed as possible so that someone reviewing it later has a clear picture of the harassment. Keep this log at home or in another safe place. If you are able, ask co-workers who witness the harassment to write down what they have seen.

If the harassment takes written form, such as a poster, picture, drawing, memorandum, etc., or is electronic such as an e-mail or text, make sure to keep a copy of it at home or some other place than work. If you can’t copy the offending material for some reason, remember your phone has a handy camera feature. These things have a habit of getting lost.

Keep detailed notes of the negative actions that you experience as a result of your refusal to submit to sexually harassing behavior.

Take note of any meetings you have with your employer concerning the harassment—who was there, what was said, and Although last on our list, the first person that you will want to consult with is a lawyer. The law surrounding sexual harassment is very complicated, and a lawyer will be able to explain both your and your employer’s obligations to prevent and stop sexual harassment once it is reported. An attorney will also be able to keep you informed of any deadlines that have to be met before a lawsuit is barred. Many lawyers specialize in workplace discrimination, and they will be able to give you advice based on your specific circumstances.what conclusions you agreed on.

Any retaliation you experience after complaining about the sexual harassment. Retaliation for complaining about sexual harassment is illegal, even if later it is found that the conduct does not rise to the level of actionable sexual harassment. An employer cannot retaliate against you for complaining about what you believe is sexual harassment directed at you or another.

Make a formal workplace complaint

If you were provided with an employee handbook, it should contain the procedure for making a sexual harassment complaint. Except for very unique situations, you must follow the procedure set forth in your employee handbook. If you don’t the employer will argue that you failed to give it the opportunity to prevent further sexual harassment and you may lose the ability to receive compensation.

Inform your supervisor verbally and in writing about the sexual harassment and keep a copy of the letter with your log. It is essential that your employer have the chance to correct the problem before you can make any legal complaints.

Contact

The human resources department or another appropriate department or manager is typically responsible for knowing and applying the sexual harassment policies of the employer. If they do not deal directly with sexual harassment complaints, they should be able to point you in the correct direction.

Sexual Harassment What To Do First:

Although last on our list, the first person that you will want to consult with is a lawyer. The law surrounding sexual harassment is very complicated, and a lawyer will be able to explain both your and your employer’s obligations to prevent and stop sexual harassment once it is reported. An attorney will also be able to keep you informed of any deadlines that have to be met before a lawsuit is barred. Many lawyers specialize in workplace discrimination, and they will be able to give you advice based on your specific circumstances.

Contact Jon Vonder Haar