With many claims of sexual harassment against powerful men in Hollywood and politics having surfaced in the news, now is a watershed moment for reporting such incidents. If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, you do not have to stay silent; there are many things you can do to stand up to this type of behavior.
The following suggestions are different ways you can take action against sexual harassment in the workplace and stand up for your rights. Those who perpetuate this kind of behavior often benefit from their victims staying silent, and this enables them to continue their behavior against others with impunity.
Your company’s human resources department
The first place you may want to seek recourse if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace is your company’s human resources department. This is the department that should have the training, knowledge and competency to handle your complaint. One important role HR departments play is to receive employee sexual harassment claims, investigate them and take any necessary disciplinary or legal action according to company policy.
In many cases, however, sexual harassment victims do not report their experiences at the workplace because they are afraid of the possible negative consequences that could result and possibly affect their employment. Sometimes, employees opt not to report because they think the company will not do anything with their complaint and there will not be any results.
Legal avenues to recourse
If your company is too small to have a human resources department, or if your company’s human resources department is either unable or unwilling to assist you with your situation, another option may be turning to a legal solution. Consulting with an attorney with experience in sexual harassment cases can be a good resource for you to determine whether you may have a case. A lawyer can also advise you regarding the risks of retaliation and ways you may handle them.
Laws vary from state to state regarding sexual harassment and legal avenues to recourse. For example, in Georgia, there is a series of categories of people who have special protection from workplace harassment and discrimination. The important thing to know is you have rights when it comes to sexual harassment and you can choose to exercise and stand up for them.
Sexual harassment is a complex issue that is increasingly gaining more exposure, which is helping both female and male victims to come forward. If you have experienced sexual harassment, it can be helpful to seek assistance from your workplace’s human resources department or from an attorney so you can learn your rights and options for recourse.