Sexual harassment in the workplace is more common than one might imagine. The recent #MeToo campaign and the Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein cases certainly brought that to light. People from every community, regardless of sexual orientation, age, or gender, encounter unwelcome touches, inappropriate glances, lewd comments, and requests for physical favors. Not every victim is female and not every perpetrator is male, and reactions can range from mild annoyance to devastation, according to an article by The Balance Careers. Most often, you might also feel powerless due to the fear of job loss and a threat to your career. But, if the problems are not addressed by an employment lawyer, the situation can spiral out of control.
The first thing to know is that it is illegal to make threats of reprisal after an allegation of sexual harassment. Appointing an employment law attorney in Austin is a wise move if you ever experience such inappropriate behavior, says Jack Quentin Nichols, a leading Texas discrimination attorney. Here are a few other things you can do.
Learn What Constitutes Sexual Harassment
It is important to understand what the term means to be able to make a valid claim via an Austin employment law attorney. Otherwise, you might face the consequences of false accusations. On the flip side, sexual harassment encompasses much more than the obvious “brushing” or “accidental touching,” and you might not realize it has happened. For starters, such harassment is not always physical. It can be unsolicited comments as well. For example, “You look hot/sexy in short dresses,” or “I have wild fantasies about you at night,” also constitute sexual harassment and should not be tolerated.
Including sexual innuendo in work topics, making vulgar facial expressions, or spreading rumors about your character are also forms of harassment. Make sure to consult a Texas discrimination attorney to work out the next steps.
Write a Formal Complaint
In the complaint, ensure to add all details, like who said what, on which date and what time, and under what circumstances. Be assertive in your tone and ensure that it looks like a serious complaint. Also mention if the behavior has taken place more than once. Before making an official move, learn what does not count as harassment. For example, negative comments about your religious beliefs, making fun of your accent, and stereotyping other co-workers are non-sexual acts, although they still account for harassment via discrimination, according to an article by Cleverism.
Do Not Wait for a Second Incident
When you do not retaliate in the first instance, the perpetrator might feel encouraged to continue. They could also feel you are a pushover and might never take a step against them. Without issuing a warning or delaying your move, approach your HR department, or follow the sexual harassment complaint policies of your company. If you do not receive the desired response, consult an employment law attorney right away.
There are numerous ways to safeguard your dignity and fight back. Make sure to take immediate action to keep your life from becoming miserable at the workplace.
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