Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that affects people in many industries and from all walks of life. Unfortunately, some employees who report workplace sexual harassment are ignored or not taken seriously by employers or supervisors. In these situations, it is crucial to understand your rights and your legal options. With the help of an experienced attorney, you can take steps to address the ways you have been affected by sexual harassment.
The Impact of Ignored Reports
When reports of workplace sexual harassment are not addressed correctly, this can affect both the victim and the overall work environment. Some potential effects of the failure to respond to sexual harassment complaints include:
- Maintaining a hostile work environment: By ignoring complaints of sexual harassment, an employer allows a hostile work environment to persist. This not only affects the victim, but it also sets a precedent for others.
- Silencing victims: When reports are dismissed without proper investigation or action to address harassment, this sends a message to other potential victims that their voices will not be heard either.
- Lack of accountability: Failure to address sexual harassment claims creates a culture where harassers face no consequences for their actions. This lack of accountability allows abuse within workplaces to continue.
- Negative impact on productivity: A toxic work environment due to sexual harassment can lead to decreased productivity among affected employees. They may experience increased stress and anxiety, and they may find it more difficult to complete their job duties effectively.
Your Rights When Reporting Workplace Sexual Harassment
If you have experienced sexual harassment in your workspace, and your initial report was ignored or overlooked by management, there are legal protections available to you that can help ensure your rights are upheld. You have rights under the following laws:
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: Under federal law, workplace sexual harassment is considered a form of discrimination that violates employees’ rights. If an employer ignores or fails to address a complaint of harassment, they may be in violation of this act.
- The Illinois Human Rights Act: Illinois has enacted its own legislation to protect employees from workplace sexual harassment. The state’s laws give employees the right to be free from discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, or other protected factors.
Taking Action When Your Reports Are Ignored
If your reports of workplace sexual harassment have been ignored or not taken seriously by your employer, there are several steps you can take to assert your rights and seek justice:
1. Maintain documentation: Keep detailed records (dates, times, locations) of incidents of harassment and any subsequent attempts to report them.
2. Elevate the complaint: If reporting the issue directly to your immediate supervisor was unsuccessful, consider escalating it within the company hierarchy or reporting it to HR personnel via e-mail.
3. Contact an employment discrimination attorney: Consulting with an experienced lawyer will provide valuable guidance on how best to proceed based on your circumstances and the state and federal laws that apply to you.
4. Filing a formal complaint: Your attorney may recommend filing a claim with relevant government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or the Illinois Department of Human Rights. This step is typically required before you can file a lawsuit against your employer to address discrimination involving sexual harassment.
Contact Our Wheaton Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyers
If your reports of workplace sexual harassment have been ignored or dismissed, the team at [[title]] can help you understand your options. We have a track record of successfully advocating for people in similar situations, and we can make sure workplace discrimination will be addressed correctly. To schedule a consultation with one of our DuPage County sexual harassment attorneys, please call us at [[phone]]. Our dedicated legal team will listen to your story, assess the merits of your case, and provide personalized advice tailored to your needs.