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Steps to take if you have been sexually harassed

While it would be great if every work situation was free of conflict and drama, this is not usually the case. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is one type of behavior that can make working in an environment challenging and uncomfortable. Although California has laws against sexual harassment, it still occurs and it is important to know how to proceed so that the claim is taken seriously and a proper investigation is carried out.

Forbes reports that a survey showed around 33% of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Of those women, only 30% actually reported the incidents and one of the main reasons is they are afraid. To help more women and men come forward, there are certain steps one should follow. The first is to document each and every situation in which you felt harassed. Documentation should be written and/or typed up and kept at home or in a safe place, preferably not at work. Take detailed notes and include the date and time as well as if there were any witnesses to the transaction. Any other evidence, such as emails, texts and notes, should also be collected and copied.

Once you have evidence you should report it to your employer. According to US News, your employee handbook should make it clear who you report to, but if you do not feel comfortable reporting to him or her, or that is who is doing the harassing, there should be an alternate person listed. Keep in mind there will be an in-depth investigation and others may be interviewed and your personnel file reviewed as well. It may be a good idea to hire an attorney before you report the harassment as he or she can help you through the process and be your advocate.


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