Being the victim of sexual misconduct in the workplace can be a terrifying and isolating experience. Anxiety, fear, and guilt are just a few of the most common emotions that people who are the victims of sexual misconduct often face.
If you are one of them, you may be at a loss in terms of what you should do in order to deal with the issue and make sure that it does not happen again and that you are fairly compensated for your trauma.
For that reason, let us break down some of the most important questions regarding sexual misconduct.
Can I be punished for complaining about sexual misconduct?
This is a valid concern if you do not know the rules or laws related to workplace sexual harassment. Luckily, Title VII expressly forbids an employer from being punished for speaking out against harassment or filing a charge of harassment.
It will also protect you from any kind of retaliation should you participate in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing on behalf of another person who has filed a suit related to sexual misconduct and harassment.
What should I do if I am being harassed?
When you are dealing with sexual harassment, there is no one answer to this very important question. The reason why is because no case is exactly the same. With that being said, there are a few things that can help you overcome the issue today:
If you are being harassed, the first thing you must do is make it clear that you do not approve of the behavior and activity and make sure that the perpetrator explicitly knows that his or her behavior is unwelcome now and anytime in the future. You must firmly refuse all invitations. Do not play it off jokingly or flirtatiously, make it very clear that it is unwanted and will not be tolerated.
Write it down
If repeat incidents are occurring, make sure to write down exactly what happened for your records should a case go to court.
Report to your employer: Make sure that your employer knows that something is taking place that you are not comfortable with. They may deal with the issue internally. If they do not, or if you want to seek further support, you may want to speak with a law office.
What should I do if my employer does not support me?
If you find that your employer is siding with your harasser rather than you, the victim, it is likely time for you to seriously consider filing a legal complaint. After all, it is not okay for companies to protect employers who sexually harass their colleagues and make them feel uncomfortable.
While you may feel like you are alone in this issue, remember that there is a large chance that you are not the only person who is falling, or who has fallen, victim to this kind of harassment in your workplace. You stepping up and doing the right thing could not only help you but also many of the people who you work with as well.
Interesting related article: “What is Harassment?“