While workplace sexual harassment is prevalent across industries, these unlawful instances are rarely reported for several unfortunate reasons. First, employees often feel their silence can save the future of their careers. But beyond that, gender-based violence and discrimination are other factors employees fear.
Even so, reporting these instances is crucial. Not only will your report dissolve your immediate situation, but it will also lend a hand in abolishing the behavior; this benefits your colleagues and adds to the new standard demand for safe workplace environments.
Nevertheless, reporting such heinous behavior is still a delicate matter. You must follow the correct precautions to protect your career and seek justice. These are the steps you’ll need to take.
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Gather As Much Evidence As Possible
Before you can report anything, you’ll need relevant and valid evidence to support your claims. Save text messages and emails that serve as evidence of the behavior.
Video recordings and voice recordings are also relevant evidence that can strengthen your case. In a time where smartphone use is so prevalent, gathering evidence is typically straightforward.
More often than not, secret recordings are viable evidence in court. However, practicing caution is still essential when using proof of this nature.
Make It Clear That You Won’t Tolerate The Behavior
Sexual harassment is unlawful, and you have every right to reject sexual advances. Moreover, if the sexual harassment you are experiencing includes jokes and mockery of a sexual nature or makes you feel significantly uncomfortable, you are allowed to put your foot down.
Be sure to tell the perpetrator that you will not tolerate the behavior. Ask them to stop immediately, and let them know that you won’t remain silent. Often, this step is enough to mitigate sexual harassment.
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Hire An Employment Lawyer
Once you have collected your evidence, consult an employment lawyer right away. Even though it’s often recommended to file an internal complaint with HR before seeking legal representation, sexual harassment is a sensitive matter. In some cases, filing an internal complaint first adds fuel to the fire.
If you have demanded that the instigator stop their behavior and the harassment continues, it’s best to consult a lawyer right away. With this, it’s essential to choose the right labor lawyer. Just as you would select a worker’s comp lawyer to handle your injury claims, it’s wise to consult an employment lawyer that specializes in sexual harassment cases.
An expert lawyer will know how to guide you through the situation safely; you won’t need to worry about retaliation when relying on a lawyer to handle this sensitive employment law claim.
File An Internal Complaint With Legal Guidance
Your lawyer will guide you through the process of lodging an internal complaint against the perpetrator. With this, your lawyer might recommend seeking alternative employment if retaliation is a concern. And if retaliation is a concern, your lawyer will negotiate an exit package with your employer and ensure the future of your career is protected.
Sexual harassment reports are as crucial as whistleblowing information. Even if you think it’s best to remain silent, it’s wise to view your report as a moral obligation to others who might not have the resources or strength available to do so.