Sexual harassment may involve anything from offensive “jokes” to unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature. Multiple state and federal laws prohibit sexual harassment. Unfortunately, workers in a wide range of industries continue to experience sexual harassment.
If you have experienced sexual harassment – or even just behavior that made you feel uncomfortable, it is important to speak up. Do not let the harassment continue. File a complaint according to your company’s sexual harassment policy. If the harassment does not stop or if your employer retaliates against you, you should speak to a lawyer about taking legal action.
As you deal with the situation, make sure to avoid the following common mistakes.
Not Documenting Every Incident of Harassment
It may seem inconsequential, but one of the most important things you can do when you experience sexual harassment at work is to document the harassment thoroughly. Keep a sexual harassment log in which you write down each time something is said or done that makes you feel uncomfortable. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), hostile work environment harassment occurs when harassing behaviors are severe or pervasive. Having a detailed record of all of the incidents is crucial to demonstrating the persistent nature of the harassment. Write down who was involved in the incident, what happened, who was witness to the incident, and the date, time, and location of each incident.
Not Following Your Employer’s Sexual Harassment Policy
Illinois law requires employers to provide sexual harassment prevention training. When you report the harassment, follow the reporting guidelines in your company’s employee handbook, training manual, or policies. Most company policies direct employee to report sexual harassment or discrimination to the human resources department. Following your company guidelines is important because the U.S. Supreme County has asserted that employees must give employers the opportunity to stop sexual harassment before they can file a sexual harassment lawsuit. Always memorialize the report of sexual harassment or discrimination with an e-mail to the human resources department and/or if no HR department, then to the manager in charge.
Assuming You Have to Handle This Alone
If you were sexually harassed at work or retaliated against for filing a sexual harassment report, you may understandably be lost, angry, and confused. It is important to keep in mind that you do not have to handle this difficult situation alone. Reach out to an attorney experienced in sexual harassment claims to get the legal support you need.
Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Attorney
Sexual harassment is illegal. It is also unlawful for an employer to reduce an employee’s hours, deny an employee a justified promotion, fire an employee, or otherwise take adverse action against an employee in retaliation for the employee filing a complaint.
If you were the victim of sexual harassment or retaliation at work, contact our Wheaton sexual harassment lawyer for help. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation.