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What should you do if you are sexually harassed at work?

On Behalf of | Mar 17, 2024 | Sexual Harassment

The workplace should ideally be a safe and respectful environment where all employees feel valued and free from harassment or discrimination. However, not all people view it as such and some might subject others to sexual harassment, creating a hostile or uncomfortable atmosphere.

Sexual harassment in the workplace can be a serious violation of your rights and can result in significant emotional, psychological and professional consequences. Knowing what to do in the event of sexual harassment is crucial for protecting yourself and addressing the issue effectively.

Confront the perpetrator

If you feel safe doing so, confronting the perpetrator directly about their behavior can be a first step. Clearly and firmly express that their actions are unwelcome and inappropriate. Document the incident(s), including dates, times and details of what occurred, as this information may be important later on.

Inform your supervisor or HR department

If the harassment persists or if you do not feel comfortable confronting the perpetrator directly, report the behavior to your supervisor or human resources (HR) department. Many companies have policies and procedures in place for handling complaints of sexual harassment. Provide them with your documentation and any other evidence you have gathered.

Know your rights

The law protects you from all forms of discrimination and harassment, including those of a sexual nature. You can choose to take the issue to the next level if your employer fails to address the situation adequately. This may involve filing a formal complaint with the relevant authorities.

Seek support

The trauma and stigma associated with sexual harassment can be potentially damaging, impacting your mental health, self-esteem and overall well-being. It’s crucial to prioritize your emotional and psychological health during this challenging time. Seek support from trusted friends, family members or colleagues who can provide understanding and empathy. You may also consider reaching out to a counselor or therapist specializing in trauma to help you process your experiences and develop coping strategies.

If you have been sexually harassed at work, it may be time to learn about your legal options and consider consulting with legal counsel to understand your rights and potential courses of action.