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Responding to sexual harassment

Sexual harassment has certainly diminished a great deal in the workplace over the last couple of decades, but it is unfortunately still a reality for many people. If you are experiencing sexual harassment, there are a number of steps you can take to put an end to it and make the workplace safer and more productive for everyone. Taking action against sexual harassment is rarely easy, but it is not only the right thing to do for yourself, it's also the right thing to do for thousands of other workers who want to feel safe at their jobs. When you confront sexual harassment, you are contributing to a better workplace experience for many more people than only yourself.

As difficult as it can be, the best action to take first is to inform the individual or individuals who are displaying the bad behavior that the things they are doing are offensive. In many cases, simply standing up for yourself is enough to halt the harmful behavior. It may be hard to believe, but many people simply don't realize that they are being offensive and need to be told as much. If you are willing to take this risk, you may surprise yourself with the result. Even if it does not bring an end to the behavior, you have taken an important first step towards ending it.

Whether the offensive behavior stops there or not, it is important to document your experience carefully. This means making note of what happened, when it occurred, and who was involved. If the behavior continues, you can then go about following your employer's procedures for handling sexual harassment. This usually involves informing the offending party's direct supervisor. If that fails to resolve the issue, then it is time to file an official complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Once an official complaint is filed, the agency will attempt to resolve your conflict. If this proves unfruitful, you will be issued a letter that grants you the right to pursue the matter with the court.

Ending sexual harassment is an important task to undertake. Like all conflicts, it is better to fight this battle with a team by your side. With the proper guidance of an experienced attorney, you can rest assured that your rights will be protected as you pursue a safe and just workplace.

Source: findlaw, "Sexual Harassment: Actions You Can Take," accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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