Are You Experiencing Sexual Harassment at Work? Call Out Attorneys Today
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect in the workplace. You should never feel threatened, intimidated, and objectified in the office. The company you work for should have strict rules that prohibit sexual harassment. These rules should be rigorously enforced, and there should be a procedure that allows persons who have been harassed to make a formal complaint. If your employer has failed to establish and enforce such standards, then they should be held accountable. Hiring an employment attorney Los Angeles is the first step toward doing so.
The Great Dilemma for Sexual Harassment Victims
You were hired for your knowledge, competence, qualifications, and ability to do the job well. You want to be accepted by your colleagues and superiors in that light. The last thing you want to become is a sexual harassment victim—as someone who has been harmed, mistreated, and abused. However, it is hard to be productive while working with someone who makes unwanted sexual advancements toward you. And therein lays the dilemma for sexual harassment victims. On the one hand, you want to be seen as a strong-minded and strong-willed professional who is just doing your job like everyone else. On the other hand, keeping up this appearance when you know all is not right in the workplace will impact your job performance, and it may encourage the person to harass other people.
The Simplest Way to Handle Sexual Harassment
If a co-worker has pestered you for a date and will not accept no for an answer, if someone has a habit of making lewd gestures or sexually charged jokes and remarks, the easiest way to get them to stop may be to confront them directly. Many men who sexually harass women at work do so because none of their victims have ever stood up to them. They do it because they have always gotten away with it. In most instances, a serious rebuke is enough to stop the inappropriate and illegal behavior. Your response need not be public. Pulling the harasser aside for a quiet but firm word may be enough to get them to change their behavior.
Handling the problem at the lowest possible level is simple and straightforward. However, you must feel comfortable doing so. You should never be forced to fend off your harasser on your own. If you believe it is better to escalate the matter immediately, then you should do so.
The Right Time to Speak to a Lawyer
If you are contemplating taking legal action, you will want to ask yourself a few questions. Before you put your career and reputation on the line, you want to be sure about the incident. You will want to know whether what your co-worker did constitutes sexual harassment. You will want to know whether you should report them. You will also want to know how to protect yourself against future harassment. And you will certainly be concerned about retaliation from your employer for reporting the conduct.
A Los Angeles workplace lawyer can help you sort through all these questions.
To begin with, you must have in your mind a clear and fixed definition of sexual harassment. It consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct that is sexual in nature and creates a hostile work environment. The key here is consistent behavior that makes it difficult or impossible for you to do your job. If you have anxieties about coming to work every day, if you are uncomfortable walking the corridors of your office, if you find it difficult to concentrate or work steadily because of the harassment, then you have a problem. You should speak to a sexual harassment lawyer Los Angeles about it.
Your employer’s policy may require you to report the harassment to a manager or to human resources. If the person harassing you is your boss or is senior to you, then you are not required to report them to human resources. You may want to speak to a sexual harassment lawyer Los Angeles before reporting the person to HR. A Los Angeles work harassment attorney can guide you to the right department, and they can give you advice on what you should say or write in your report.
What you say in the report—the description of the harassment and other relevant information—is essential. You should be as clear, detailed, and accurate as possible. Remember that the person charged will have a right to respond to the charges. Even if they do not know it is you who reported them, they will be able to review your allegations and rebut them. A lawyer can help you write a sexual harassment report that will withstand such scrutiny. This will give you the confidence and surety you need if you have to speak directly to HR about the incident.
A Los Angeles work harassment attorney will also help you protect yourself against further harassment. They will show you how to document the harassment and discuss the incident with your employer. They will also advise you on how to report future harassment to your employer and how to take firm measures against the harasser.
Your employer must investigate your complaints. Your sexual assault lawyer in the workplace will help you ensure that your complaints have been taken seriously and that the investigation is being carried out.
As the investigation proceeds, you will need to carefully monitor your treatment at work. Your employer is forbidden from retaliating against employees who report sexual harassment. However, retaliation can occur in many different ways. If you are suddenly removed from a project that you were lined up for or excluded from meetings, events, and social outings, you should inform your lawyer. They will know what to do to protect you against such retaliatory actions.
In the end, you may need to file formal charges against your employer. The first step is to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will then run their own investigation. If they substantiate your claims, you will be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. A sexual assault lawyer in the workplace will help guide you through this process as well.