Victims of sexual harassment at work can feel powerless, particularly when told they can’t do anything about it. But, these victims have legal rights. An experienced Morristown employment lawyer can tell them exactly what they can do to stop sexual harassment. If you are one of these victims, you don’t have to deal with your situation in silence. Here’s what you can do to put a stop to this misconduct:
Put the Harasser on Notice
In a lot of sexual harassment cases, especially those that involve a hostile work environment, the offender may not realize the impact of their actions on the victim. Sometimes, letting them know how you feel about the conduct may help resolve the issue. If the person wants to avoid workplace tension, they may stop the offensive conduct.
File a Complaint
If the sexual harassment continues, you still have options. Your company may have a detailed procedure for handling sexual harassment complaints. Follow these procedures carefully and take note of any time limits set out in the policy. Bring your complaint to the staff assigned to receive it.
If there is no set procedure in your company, talk to your supervisor about the offensive conduct. If the offender is the supervisor, bring your complaint to the immediate superior of your supervisor. You need to make the management aware of the harassment. Ensure you have a record of your complaints.
File a Discrimination Charge
If you cannot resolve the harassment complaint through the internal procedures of your company and you want to pursue the matter, file an administrative charge with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the human rights or civil rights enforcement agency of your state. The agency will investigate your claim and try to resolve it by negotiating with your employer. Your attorney can assist you with this process. Should the agency decide not to proceed with your complaint, it will issue a “right to sue” notice. Thus, you can bring your case to court. The agency may file a lawsuit against your employer if it finds significant evidence of harassment and cannot resolve the matter with your employer.
When you get a “right to sue” letter from the agency, you can bring a civil lawsuit for the injuries you sustained because of the sexual harassment. These injuries can be both physical and emotional. When you win the case, you can get remedies such as reinstatement if you lost your job, lost fringe benefits, back pay for lost or missed pay, damages for emotional distress, and others.