It’s a great big world out there filled with trials and economic tribulations. Something especially affecting many young women is finding well-paying jobs that utilize the skills that they have earned with a four-year degree. Even today women suffer from discrimination in the workplace through wage disparities and a greater risk of being the victim of sexual harassment. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual harassment it can be confusing to know what to do next, especially in uncertain financial times.
You shouldn’t feel threatened or unsafe at work. Both women and men are protected by anti-discrimination laws that include protections from sexual harassment. Even if you have not been the direct target of inappropriate sexual remarks you may still be able to file a complaint and have your problem addressed. Read on to learn what to do next if you have been the victim of a sexually-charged discrimination.
What Is Sexual Harassment
While it’s talked about in the media, the meaning of sexual harassment may not be clear to many people. Oftentimes it is used to describe situations that are not the same as the legal definition. To simplify things, harassment is any sort of sexual advance that is not welcome. You don’t have to explicitly tell the offender that it is not welcome in order to file a complaint; however, it does help your case if you do.
Some women may not feel safe or comfortable in their workspace to stand up to their harasser. This is not any blame on you but it must be addressed if you can expect any progress to be made.
If you were indirectly affected by because of favoritism caused by someone who submitted to the harassment you may be able to file a complaint.
Reporting The Incident
The first thing you must do when being victimized is report the incident as soon as possible. This can be as simple as walking in to your human resources office and asking to speak to someone. A formal complaint should be filed so that it is on record. Make sure to keep your copy of the record for further proof later.
Once a complaint has been made your employer is supposed to address the issue in a way that causes the offending behavior to stop. Sometimes this doesn’t happen right away. Your employer will want to speak with both parties separately and then together so that they have a good idea of what is going on and the appropriate steps to resolve the conflict.
Sometimes advances may be welcome at first. It is not your fault if you change your mind. Anyone has the right to change their mind when it comes to this sort of thing. This is when it is especially important to be clear that you no longer welcome that sort of behavior. It is no secret that as many as a third of relationships begin at work. It doesn’t mean that choosing not to pursue a relationship will have to be the end of your time at your employer.
Waiting For Conditions To Improve
In most cases filling a complaint is all it takes for the problem to go away. If the offender has a history of complaints against him or her she may be asked to leave the company. In many cases you will still have to see the person in the course of your work.
If conditions do not improve or get worse talk to your employer again. If you don’t feel they took your issue seriously you may want to speak with an employment attorney that can advise you on the appropriate action to take. Laws vary from state to state so it is important that you seek out local representation. From here you can progress in having the issue resolved. In some instances the case will be taken to court. Having the foresight to see an attorney early-on will be a big help if the issue goes to litigation.
Author Bio: John Barrett is a writer and employment law activist. He enjoys spending time with his family and keeping up on relevant issues for employees’ conditions in the workplace. He is representing employmentlawlayers.com with his writing.