Legal Advice for Sexual Harassment at Work
Sexual harassment is unlawful. In the US, the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination of employees based on sex, race, religion, color, and national origin. Since then, several laws have been put in place to prevent bodily harassment, including the 1991 amendment to Title VII of the Act, which allows victims of harassment at work to sue for damages. This website details all the federal laws to date on sexual pestering.
Despite all these laws in place, privacy harassment remains a big problem in the US. What is worse, is that many victims simply do not know their rights, or that they can seek legal advice.
In this article, we define sexual nuisance and explain how victims can go about getting help after they have been sexually harassed at work.
What is Sexual Harassment?
Sexual harassment can cover a broad range of offenses, including unwelcome advances or requests for favours of the sensual kind, perverted comments or jokes, physical behaviour such as touching, sending lude photos or drawings of a fleshly nature, or sending emails/messages with a connotative tone.
This may often take place in the workplace but it can happen anywhere. For victims, it can be a violation of dignity, and make them feel embarrassed to go to work or go about their daily duties.
If you have previously been or are currently being sexually harassed in the workplace, there are several things you can do, including seeking legal action.
Getting Help After Sexual Harassment
Now, if you have been harassed at work in this manner, the first thing to remember is that you are within your rights to speak up about it. The best thing to do first of all is to calmly confront the person harassing you. Tell them what they are doing wrong and how it is making you feel.
Sometimes, people do not even realize their behaviour is illegal, and they will stop right away. If you have confronted the person and they continue to behave in this way, or you see them behaving that way towards another person, it is time to report them.
Your company’s human resources department is the best to speak to regarding an aggravation claim. Here is some advice on when to contact your HR department: https://theundercoverrecruiter.com/when-should-you-go-human-resources/
If you do not have an HR department, look through your company documentation to find out who the best person would be. If you are still unsure, go to your Manager or the CEO/Founder/Managing Director of the company if you feel comfortable doing so.
It is important to substantiate your claim. If you have tangible evidence such as emails, images, or messages you need to provide these. Also, any witnessed incidents are important. For any incidents where you do not have any evidence, write down exactly what happened in detail, with dates, times, location, and other circumstances, to use as your evidence. It is also a good idea to make the claim in writing, to ensure all parties have something to refer back to.
Usually, the claim will end within your workplace. Most businesses have processes in place to stop sexual harassment from happening and to deal with it when it does arise. This could be dealing with the individual in question (either giving them a warning, or in some casing suspending them), launching an internal investigation, or reporting the matter to the police. As the victim, they should also support you personally with getting help after sexual harassment at work. Your employer should always deal with the complaint in a timely and fair manner.
Your employer is liable for this concept in their company, but in the rare case that your company refuses to do anything about it, you still have options. You can sue your employer for failing to acknowledge nuisance of this kind, within their company.
If you have reported pestering in the workplace to your employer and they have not responded, you can file a complaint with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). You have between 180 days – 300 days from the date of the incident to report the claim depending on your state. You can also find an employment lawyer in your state to help you with your claim. This is a good idea especially if your employer is going to retaliate.
Finally, if it is viable for you to do so, it is probably best to leave the company in question, particularly if you are having to report them for failing to acknowledge your sexual aggravation claim. For more advice on getting help after adulterated harassment, there are plenty of resources out there, as well as people who can help.