Steps Women Can Take If They Are Experiencing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment is against the law. Many women who experience sexual harassment in the workplace are told that they are misinterpreting situations or being too sensitive but that’s not the case. That’s what abusers say to try and silence victims.
You have the right to work without harassment. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate or tolerate discrimination based on sex, race, country of origin, religion, or orientation. If you have been experiencing sexual harassment, you can file complaints at the state and Federal levels against your employer.
What You Can Do if You Have Been Sexually Harassed
If you have experienced sexual harassments or are currently experiencing, you should know that sexual harassment is never your fault. You did not invite the harassment or ask for it. You are not to blame for being harassed. Abusers count on women being too ashamed to fight back harassment but none of it is your fault and you can fight back by holding your employer accountable.
To start gathering what you’ll need to file a sexual harassment complaint get a written copy of your company’s official statement on sexual harassment. Every company should have this document that outline’s the company policy. It could be in the employee handbook or in the paperwork that you signed when you started working there. If you don’t have a copy, you can
ask HR for one.
Read the statement very carefully and then start documenting every incident that violates the company’s written sexual harassment policy. Keep a log by writing down each incident as it occurs. For each occurrence write down the date and time it happened, who was involved, any witnesses that saw it, and then write a brief summary of what happened. If the incident involved emails or written communication include a screen shot or print out of the communication.
Make multiple copies of this incident list, and you should keep an electronic copy too. Use email or certified mail to send a copy to your company’s HR department and your immediate boss. If you use email turn your read receipts on so that you have proof that the HR rep and your boss saw the email. If you’re using actual mail, send the document certified mail so you have proof it was delivered. If you do not receive a satisfactory response from your employer, you can file a complaint with the EEOC or your state.
Filing a Claim for Sexual Harassment
You can submit a claim and your gathered evidence to the EEOC and state labor authorities as well. When filing with the EEOC, you have 180 days from the incident to file a claim. You can also file a claim with your state. In Florida, you can file a claim with the Florida Commission on Human Relations. You claim will then be examined and the next best course of action will be decided. You may receive compensation for damages and your employer may be fined or penalized.
Many women who experience sexual harassment are embarrassed or ashamed and so they don’t come forward. But filing a complaint is the right thing to do. By filing a complaint against your employer for sexual harassment you could be saving another woman from becoming a victim.