Sexual advances create a hostile work environment filled with tension, frustration, embarrassment, and many other consequences, and yet this problem seems to be all-too-common in workplaces around the country. In fact, it seems like the news is dominated with headlines of unwanted sexual advances, harassment, and improper conduct from prominent figures. If you have been experiencing sexual harassment or unwanted advances at work, here are three steps you can follow to put a stop to them, make sure the perpetrator is held accountable, and get back to a normal work environment.
Ask the Perpetrator to Stop
While this may seem difficult to believe, some harassers genuinely are unaware that you’re not receptive or enjoying the treatment you’re receiving. In some of these cases, simply telling the perpetrator how you’re feeling and asking them to stop will actually get them to cease and change their actions for the better. The best way to avoid tension is to simply ask the perpetrator to stop in private, however if that doesn’t work, consider asking them to stop where witnesses can hear. When other parties get involved, perpetrators may feel pressured once other parties get involved.
Report the Harassment
If this first step doesn’t get the harassment to stop, you should consider reporting the conduct to the proper authorities. Go to your human resources department and explain the situation, and they’ll have the power to take action authorized by law. This may seem difficult to do, especially if the person perpetrating the harassment is someone who’s in a position of power and authority over you.
You also have the option of going to a direct supervisor if they have the ability to resolve the issue effectively. In some cases, this may actually be a better option as it can prevent detrimental action from being taken against an employee and prevent the hard feelings that can get in the way as a result.
File a Complaint
Finally, you can choose to take things even further and file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC handles matters such as discrimination, wrongful termination, and sexual harassment matters, including instances where employees are fired for reporting harassment or passed over for promotions or opportunities for refusing to give in to sexual advances. Filing a complaint is not the same as filing a charge, and you should speak with a Houston employment lawyer before pursuing these legal options in order to make sure your rights are protected.Are you dealing with sexual harassment while on the job? Put a powerful ally from Shellist Lazaraz Slobin LLP on your side! Call us today at (713) 352-3433 for a case evaluation.