No matter your sex or gender, you have the right to work in a safe and comfortable environment free from harassment of all forms, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment comes in many forms: unwanted sexual advances, lewd comments and jokes, and nonconsensual physical contact. If you have experienced sexual harassment of any kind, and your employer has specified protocols for internally reporting sexual harassment, you must take reasonable steps to report the harassment to your employer before resorting to legal action. Follow the steps below:
- Go over your employee handbook and/or collective bargaining agreement. Employers generally provide information on how to internally report incidents of sexual harassment in the employee handbook and/or collective bargaining agreement.
- Report to a neutral party who is in a supervisory position and also trustworthy. Ideally, this would be a Human Resource Manager who keeps your best interests in mind.
- Meet face-to-face. In a face-to-face meeting, you will be better able to tell your story and to answer any follow-up questions from the employer. Also, your employer is more likely to take your complaint seriously if there’s a human face attached to it.
- Follow up in writing. Even if you’ve already met face-to-face, you should still get everything in writing for the sake of preserving evidence. Document your complaints and any follow-up exchanges you have with your employer. E-mail is preferable.
- Do not lie. Even the smallest lie can completely destroy the integrity of your complaint. When telling your employer what happened, make sure you get all of the details right. Include supporting witnesses and documents if you have them.
- If you have a plan of action in mind, express it. Your employer is not required to remedy the situation the way you desire, but it never hurts to give your input.
- If your employer ignores your complaints, or worse, retaliates against you for it, call an experienced employment lawyer. At this point, you’ve exhausted all internal processes and thus are well within your rights to take legal action.
At Wilshire Law Firm, our award-winning workplace harassment lawyers are prepared to fight for your employee rights. Call us at (213) 805-8549 to learn more about what our firm can do for you in a free, no obligation consultation.