What to Do if You're Sexually Harassed
Sexual harassment is an unlawful form of gender discrimination. It can manifest in many forms, including unwelcome advances, jokes, requests for sexual favors, physical contact, and more. Being sexually harassed at work can be traumatizing, whether the source of the harassment is a supervisor, a co-worker, or a third party on the premises. The New York sexual harassment lawyers at Phillips & Associates understand that victims of sexual harassment are in a difficult situation. If you are being sexually harassed at work, we are here to help. Consider doing the following if you have been subjected to of this kind of unlawful conduct in the workplace.Keep Track of All Incidents
In order to bring a complaint or lawsuit against your employer or a coworker for sexual harassment, you will have to prove that the incidents you are alleging more likely than not occurred. Often, employers accused of sexual harassment may deny it; therefore, you must have evidence that supports your version of the events. Although this may seem unfair, it is necessary for you to be successful in your claim.
Keep a detailed journal to which only you have access. Write down every time you believe you are sexually harassed, the date on which it happened, and who the perpetrator is. If there are emails, written correspondence, photographs, or other pieces evidence that support your claim, save a copy or document the evidence in some other way (such as taking a picture with your cell phone), provided that this would not violate any privacy or other laws or agreements. If there are trustworthy coworkers who know what is going on, keep them in mind as potential future witnesses.Report Sexual Harassment to Management
Try to report the incidents to management. Sometimes this can be difficult, especially if your boss or manager is the one sexually harassing you. However, it is important that you find someone to report the incidents to if you are able. You do not want to give your employer the opportunity to say that no one knew about the sexual harassment. Many employers, especially large companies, are well aware of the general problem of workplace sexual harassment. If you are able to report the harassment to HR or a manager, your employer may take action to stop it, and you may not have to file a complaint or a lawsuit. Making a report also creates additional evidence of the harassment in support of your claim if you ultimately pursue one.File a Complaint with the EEOC
If you have reported the harassment to your employer and nothing has improved, or if you are unable to report it, you can file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), your state’s fair employment agency, and possible local government commissions or departments to the extent that they exist. Filing an EEOC claim is required before you can file a lawsuit in federal court. Generally, you have 180 days from the time the harassment took place to file your claim. The laws of some states extend this time period; however, to be safe, it is best to file promptly to ensure that your claims are not time-barred.Talk to an Experienced Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you believe you may have a valid claim, speak with an experienced sexual harassment attorney. He or she can explain your options and walk you through the next steps. When it comes time to file a lawsuit, hiring a lawyer is essential. Your employer will have an attorney on their side, so it is in your best interest to have one too. The New York employment attorneys at Phillips & Associates have experience helping New Yorkers who are the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. If you believe you are experiencing sexual harassment at work, send us an email or call us at (212) 248-7431.