With the advent of the #Metoo movement, and the explosion of high profile sexual harassment allegations, many workers who have faced similar situations still don’t know the proper steps to take to report workplace harassment.
In fact, a recent report revealed that of the 12 percent of workers who say they've experienced sexual harassment on the job, 72 percent did not tell their employer about the incident.
So, if you’ve faced harassment, what should you do?
First and foremost, if you have experienced abusive or harassing behavior, it is critical you tell your employer about the situation. Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employees are protected from sexual harassment as well as sexual discrimination. If you are being harassed and you notify your employer, they have a duty to address the situation. If they fail to take adequate measures to resolve the problem, then an employee can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
In addition to federal law, many workplaces have employee handbooks that specifically spell out steps to take if you face harassment, and company guidelines for responding.
Each company may have minor difference, pursuant to federal law, employers must promptly conduct an impartial investigation, and take steps to ensuring that the harassment stops in the meantime.
In order to strengthen your claim, it is a good idea to document the behavior and make notes concerning when the offending behavior occurred and who may have witnessed the behavior. The more people who can support your claims the better.
If your company has no procedure in place for filing a sexual-harassment complaint, you should go to your immediate supervisor, and if that person is the harasser go to their supervisor. Understanding however, that if the head of the company is the harasser the situation may be more complicated.
Thankfully, with greater awareness, the incidence of workplace harassment will decrease. For more information or if you have faced workplace harassment or abuse, please contact the experienced and compassionate Atlanta sexual harassment lawyers at Buckley Beal LLP.