As women fight for their labor rights such as equal pay for equal work and being able to work while pregnant, there is one thing that keeps coming up. No matter what gains they achieve in the workplace, sexual harassment is a problem that affects so many. The emotional and even financial burden from this harassment is heavy on many working women.
Unfortunately, at some point in their career, most women are going to experience some form of sexual harassment at work. In some cases, it can be dealt with swiftly, and then it is no longer a problem. In others, it creates a hostile and toxic workplace.
In this article, we will cover what you can do if you experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
Is it sexual harassment?
Though in many cases the sexual harassment is quite subtle, if you have to ask if it qualifies, then the answer is usually yes. Maybe it’s some off-color jokes that make you feel uncomfortable. And, you may feel like you shouldn’t say anything because you don’t want to cause problems. This is a form of sexual harassment since it is creating an atmosphere in which your work life is affected.
It can be much worse than that as well. If there is any kind of suggestion of a quid pro quo then you have gone deep into sexual harassment territory. This is a situation in which you are asked for sexual favors in return for a reward such as a promotion or a raise.
In either scenario, you like me have a case to bring to a sexual harassment lawyer.
What to do first
Usually, a company has a very detailed system they require for reporting a claim of discrimination or sexual harassment. The key is to follow the protocol to the best of your ability.
You can’t always follow the letter of the requirement if it involves reporting to the person who is harassing you.
However, you do also have to use some judgment in the case. If it is a situation in which somebody is making jokes or comments that you don’t like then you could simply ask them to stop doing that and it might actually solve the problem.
When it continues, or if the incidents don’t seem like they can be stopped by simply asking then this is when to escalate.
Every incident that takes place should be recorded and documented. If you asked the person to stop doing what they do then do so in an email or text message so it can possibly be used later if the situation doesn’t get resolved easily.
When you report the incidents you should also make sure to make a note of the date, how it was reported and to whom. This information will all come in handy if this has to go to court as it becomes evidence of the problem. Your employer is required by law to investigate quickly and to make sure to remedy the situation.