4 things to do if you experience sexual harassment at work

Even if you enjoy your job and have every intention of remaining an employee of the company for years to come, you never know when something might go wrong.

For example, you could become the victim of sexual harassment at some point in the future. If this happens, you need to learn more about your legal rights and ways to protect them. There is no reason that you should be chased away from your job due to a hostile work environment or sexual harassment.

Here are four things to do if you experience sexual harassment at work:

  • Read your employee handbook. This will give you a better idea of what to do if you're in this position. Most handbooks have a sexual harassment policy, so follow it down to every last detail. For example, you'll want to collect any evidence of the harassment and make a complaint in writing.
  • Talk to your supervisor. Obviously, you won't do this if this is the person harassing you. If it's not, let your supervisor know what went wrong and ask him or her to follow up for you.
  • Get a support system in place. You should never feel that you have to cope alone after an instance of sexual harassment at work. You need to talk about this with your support system, which can include friends, family and co-workers.
  • Consider contacting the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to file a formal complaint. Hopefully, you won't have to go down this path, but you never know whether you'll need to take things to the next level. It's good to know that there is help to be had.

If you report sexual harassment to your supervisor, company owner or HR department, you hope that things will immediately change for the better. Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen.

You have many rights as an employee, and you should do whatever it takes to protect them. In the event that sexual harassment occurs at your place of employment, you should take immediate action to bring this behavior to an end.

If speaking up causes more harm than good and your employment is terminated, don't you will then need to take additional steps to protect your rights.

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