If you consider yourself a victim of workplace sexual harassment, it's imperative to take immediate action. Even though you may feel powerless at first, there are many steps you can take to put an end to the behavior and once again enjoy your career.
The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn't remain quiet and hope that things change for the better in the future. There are steps you can take to protect yourself, including the following:
- Speak your mind: Tell your harasser that you know what they are doing and that you won't tolerate it any longer. When you speak your mind, you move one step closer to frightening the person into stopping. There is no guarantee this will work, it may even make things worse, but it's the best place to start.
- Read your employee handbook: If you have an employee handbook, review it for proper procedure. It's here that you'll learn the steps to take if you're the victim of workplace sexual harassment. If you don't find any language on this, consult with your human resources department.
- Keep good records: You don't want your accusation to turn into a "he said, she said" ordeal. With the right records backing up your claim, it's much easier to prove that you were the victim of workplace sexual harassment. An example of this is an email your harasser sent to you.
- File a formal charge: You can file an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the appropriate state government agency.
- Take legal action: If all else fails, you may need to take legal action to protect your rights as an employee. You can seek remedies such as: reinstatement if you were terminated, back pay, damages for the emotional impact and the requirement for your employer to take steps (such as training) to stop this behavior.
As a victim of workplace sexual harassment, you have two options: Sit back and hope things get better, or speak up and protect your legal rights.
Once you realize that there are steps you can take to fight back, you'll find it much easier to do so. From there, you will immediately feel better about the future.