Whether you are a man or a woman, you are entitled to a safe working environment free from propositions or hostility based on your sex. Both your coworkers and superiors should be expected to adhere to standards of common decency and maintain professionalism in all of their interactions with you in the work space, if they do not because of attraction or hostility due to sex or gender, you should call a lawyer.
If you are not ready to do that, as a victim of sexual harassment at your workplace, there are steps you can take to prevent further harassment. If the harassment doesn’t stop, these actions will support your case if a lawsuit is necessary.
Don’t Ignore the Problem
Studies have shown that victims who remain passive only encourage the harasser and, in some cases, even make the harasser escalate his or her misbehavior. Harassers often fool themselves that silence or passivity is consent. Confront the harasser to any degree that you can and let him or her know that you are uncomfortable with their conduct. At a minimum, say “stop it,” even if you have to say it more than once.
Tell Your Support System
Speak with other employees who may be enduring the same. Tell your friends, family, doctor, and therapist, if you have one, about how the harassment makes you feel. Show them e-mails, texts, and anything else that has been sent to you. It will help them support you in this difficult time, and later help prove that it happened because the harasser will almost assuredly deny at least some of it.
Keep Notes, But Not on Workplace Equipment
Keep any tangible evidence relevant to the sexual harassment, such as e-mails, cards, notes, gifts, etc. Take photographs. Save text messages and anything else sent to you, even if they bother you. Show them to your friends for support. Also, keep detailed notes of every incident and other information which pertains to your case. However, do not keep the data on any company equipment. Any information contained on company property is not confidential and can be monitored and even used against you. Furthermore, avoid posting anything surrounding your harassment case on a public website like Facebook or Twitter.
Make a Report
Report your situation to an established authority. Your company may have a sexual harassment policy you can refer to. If the harasser is a superior, report to his or her superior or to Human Resources. However, you should keep in mind that anything you report to Human Resources can be made known to others, including the harasser.
Consult with an Experienced Employment Law Attorney
All of this is something of a minefield that you are forced to navigate because of someone else’s fantasy, hostility, or stereotype. The smart thing to do is talk to a lawyer early. They can help you choose your steps carefully to make it stop.
At Teller & Associates, our Seattle sexual harassment lawyers know that, unfortunately, many employees, especially women, are subjected to sexual harassment in spite of established social rules and expectations. Our legal team has the passion and the drive to provide top notch representation for all our clients. Through hard work and determination, we have established a history of success. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us today at (206) 324-8969. The initial call is free.