Sexual harassment happens in the workplace more often than many of us would like to think. There are over 12,000 claims of being sexually harassed at work that are made to the EEOC each year.
Sexual harassment is any unsolicited and unwanted behavior that is sexual in nature. The Equality Act of 2010 was created to protect employees against sexual harassment, including employers, employees, contractors, and job applicants.
The following behaviors can be classed as sexual harassment:
- Violation of dignity through unwanted direct contact or assault
- Intimidation or humiliation through threats or stalking
- Offensive comments or vulgar language
It can often be difficult for victims to identify if their experiences can be classed as sexual harassment. However, if you feel that somebody in your workplace is sexually harassing you, it’s important that you take action.
Here are some key steps that you should take if you have been sexually harassed at work or are currently experiencing sexual harassment at work.
One of the most important things to do if you feel that you are being sexually harassed in the workplace is to document everything. This includes writing down every comment or advancement that the perpetrator makes.
You should also note the time, date, and any witnesses that were present. These documents will become vital if you take legal action against the person who is harassing you, whether that is through a lawyer or the police.
It’s also important to document any complaints that you have made to your management team regarding sexual harassment. Include details about everything that was said between you and your manager. This makes it easier to put together a timeline of events
Keep your notes in a safe place to ensure that they won’t get lost or stolen. Consider keeping them either in your home or in a safe locker at work so that nobody can get their hands on them.
File a Formal Complaint With Your Manager
Employers are legally obliged to take action if one of their employees has filed a sexual harassment complaint. Under the Equality Act, they are responsible for stopping harassment and they must have an anti-harassment policy in place.
Follow the policy to file a formal complaint with your manager. Your complaint should be formally written and needs to include details about what has happened when the sexual harassment occurred, and any conversations between you and your manager. This is where your previous documentation will make things much easier.
After you have filed a report to your manager, they now have liability as an employer to take preventative action and stop the harassment.
File with a Lawyer
If the sexual harassment has not ceased since you filed a formal report, you may need to take further action and contact a sexual harassment lawyer in Chicago.
Your lawyer will consider all of the documentation and evidence that you have gathered to create a strong claim. This claim may be taken to court and used against the perpetrator so that you can get justice for your traumatic experiences.