Overcoming Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Summary: Every person is entitled to a workspace free from harassment. Regardless of gender, sexual harassment is an unfortunate happenstance which does occur from time to time. If you ever find yourself in a situation you believe to be sexual harassment, here are a few ways to help you deal with the situation and overcome them.
Record and Report
The most effective way to handle sexual harassment is to record and report any incidents which make you feel uncomfortable. Something as simple as a Word document saved on a computer or an email can help build a timeline for the ongoing abuse. If your company has an HR department, call a meeting with them and bring along all of your records. This has been proven time and time again to be the most efficient way of handling sexual harassment in the workplace and recommended by sexual harassment lawyers in California.
If there is no HR department, you should bring the situation to a superior or manager. A good practice is to include an email between yourself and your HR or superior either asking for the meeting or thanking them for talking about the situation. Be sure to include specific examples of the harassment in the body of the email. Doing so will create a paper trail that shows your discomfort further, timestamping when you brought the situation to the attention of your superiors.
To many, sexual harassment is an embarrassing situation, and reporting it can bring back the trauma of the experience. This is not easy, and depending on the severity of the harassment, having someone to talk to can make you feel better about reporting it.
The truth is whoever did the harassing will not stop until they are made aware of the situation. Sometimes they aren’t even aware that they are doing something wrong. By reporting the situation, they will at least be made aware of their actions. Not every harasser is doing so complicity. Sometimes they mean well and simply overstep their bounds. Remember, harassment is about how the incident was perceived, not how it was intended.
Ask questions/“Play Dumb”
Most cases of sexual harassment aren’t inappropriate touching or solicitation, but more casual incidents. Something as seemingly simple as a joke is usually the culprit for discomfort at work. If you feel someone is telling an inappropriate joke or saying something you feel disrespected by, ask the person to explain their statement as though you don’t understand. This forces the person to explain their inappropriate behavior and typically resolves the issue without needing to get HR involved.
If you’re in California and are a victim in California, contact a San Diego Sexual Harassment Attorney or Los Angeles Workplace Harassment Lawyer for aid. Visit here for more information on Sexual Harassment Laws in California.
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