Workplace sexual harassment is on the rise. Many people experience it every day. People often don’t speak up against it due to embarrassment or the fear of losing a job. You should know that sexual harassment at workplace is illegal and you should speak up for it. Here are some of the important things you should keep in mind.
1. Don’t quit your job
There are employees who quit job right away. They are embarrassed or scared to go back to work. Every employer should have a published sexual harassment policy. So, you should give your employer a chance to fix the situation. Otherwise, you won’t be able to approach the court if you want to.
2. Look for the policy
You should check the employee handbook, written policies, union contract, etc. to find if there is any sexual harassment policy. If you find it, you should report the incident to the person who is responsible for receiving such complaints.
3. Put it in writing.
You should put your complaint in writing always. You should write in detail about the sexual comments, sexual advances, inappropriate jokes, etc. that you have received. You should make sure it says ‘Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment’. If you don’t mention the words ‘sexual harassment’, your case won’t be taken seriously. Hostile environment, bullying, etc. are not illegal, but sexual harassment is.
4. Sexual harassment need not be ‘sexual’
Sexual harassment doesn’t only mean sexual comments, groping, etc. If you are treated differently than a male because you are a male or a female then that’s sexual harassment also. If you are given late shifts to work or difficult assignments because you are a female, then that also falls under sexual harassment.
5. You cannot go to court for a single incident
Sexual harassment has to be frequent or severe if you want to take your case to the court. A single incident is not enough for a lawsuit. Things like looking down a blouse, lifting up a skirt, asking for dates, getting phone calls, etc. are not considered as sexual harassment at court.
If you are being sexually harassed in the workplace, you shouldn’t be quiet about it. You should speak up and report it in writing to your employer. You should keep on reporting until a certain action is taken. Leaving the job is the last thing you should do. If you think that it’s hurting your health and emotion severely only then think of quitting the job. You should know your rights and responsibilities so that you can take appropriate action in case of workplace sexual harassment.