Sexual harassment usually makes any victim feel powerless. A lot of victims have to go through the ordeal after being told they cannot do anything about the harassment. But, the truth is that sexual harassment victims can do many things to put a stop to the issue. For instance, they can take informal actions and formal steps such as filing a lawsuit against the perpetrator with the assistance of experienced sexual harassment attorneys in Chicago. If you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, here are actions you can take:
Let the Offender Know their Conduct is Offensive
In a lot of sexual harassment cases, particularly in a hostile work environment, offenders may not realize their actions are offensive. That is why victims need to speak up. Sometimes, this can resolve the problem as the perpetrator will stop to avoid further workplace tension.
Refer to the Company’s Policy
In case the offender does not stop and instead take more offensive actions than before, talk to your employer about it. Companies usually have a detailed procedure to handle sexual harassment claims. Make sure to follow the procedure and remember any time limits set out in the policy. If there is no such policy in the workplace, consider bringing your complaint to your supervisor or to someone in the upper management. Ensure to keep a record of any harassment episodes including dates, times, parties involved, and what they did or said.
File an Administrative Charge with an Appropriate Government Agency
This step must be taken when the harassment is not resolved by using the internal procedures of your company. The appropriate agency for this kind of complaint is usually the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the human rights or civil rights enforcement agency of your state. The agency will conduct an investigation and will try to resolve it by negotiating with your employer.
Bring a Civil Lawsuit
In case the agency issues a “right to sue” you can bring a civil lawsuit for any losses or damages you suffered because of the sexual harassment. The injuries in sexual harassment do not have to be physical ones. Usually, they are emotional injuries that victims suffer. A successful sexual harassment suit can include remedies such as reinstatement if you lost your job, fringe benefits lost, back pay, emotional distress damages, as well as attorney’s fees and court costs. The court may also require employer to initiate training or policies to stop sexual harassment.