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What to do if you experience sexual harassment in the workplace

On Behalf of | May 9, 2023 | Employment Law

Sexual harassment is a prevalent issue in the workplace. It can take different forms, such as unwanted touching, sexual comments or jokes, or even sexual assault. Unfortunately, many victims of sexual harassment do not speak up or report the incident due to fear of retaliation or not being taken seriously.

As a Southern California worker, you should know you have the right to work in a safe and respectful environment. And there are also steps you can take if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.

Document the incident or incidents

The first step you should take after a sexual harassment incident at the workplace is to document everything. Write down the date, time and location of the incident, the name(s) of the perpetrator(s) and any witnesses.

It would help if you also wrote down a detailed description of what happened, including any words or actions that were said or done. Keeping a record of the incident(s) helps you remember important details later on and can be used as evidence if you decide to file a complaint.

Report the incident(s) to your employer

The next step is to report the incident(s) to your employer. Many employers have policies and procedures addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. You can report the incident(s) to your supervisor, human resources department or any other designated person in your company.

Consider filing a complaint with the EEOC

Suppose your employer does not take appropriate action to address the incident(s), or you are dissatisfied with the outcome. In that case, you can consider filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

The EEOC is a federal agency investigating workplace discrimination claims, including sexual harassment. To file a complaint with the EEOC, you must do so within 180 days of the incident(s). The EEOC will investigate your claim and make a recommendation about the validity of your claim. That can be helpful if you decide to move forward with a lawsuit.

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that should not be ignored. If you have experienced sexual harassment, take the necessary legal action to address the issue so the perpetrators can be held accountable.