Workplace sexual harassment is one of those topics that most people would choose to avoid. Who knows how many of us would feel comfortable discussing conduct in the workplace that often tends to be everyday misconduct?
If more people were to realize that the actions we generally experience on a daily basis is inappropriate –but more importantly unlawful, then many would be more opt to put an end to it.
- Speak up: If something or someone is making you feel uncomfortable at work, then its important to speak up about it. Whether its your supervisor, coworker or customer, its important to convey how you feel to the person who is creating the hostile work environment for you. Confront the individual by constructing an email or letter and indicating that his/her behavior troubles you and you need for it to stop. The culprit may not necessarily know that you have been offended by his/her behavior. Advising the wrongdoer of your feelings gives that person notice that they need to change immediately. If change does not take place after notifying the wrongdoer, then it may be necessary to take further action.
- Don’t Be Quick to Dismiss Behavior that’s Not Listed in Your Employee Handbook: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against employees and applicants based on age, sex, color, race, religion and national origin. Most all employers have distributed an employee handbook, however; the rules that govern the workplace may not be as detailed or rigid as the laws enforced by the state.
The bottom line: Don’t ever dismiss your gut feelings about any situation. It may not be listed in the handbook but if it doesn’t feel right to you then, it’s time to take the next step.
- Complaints about Sexual Harassment Don’t Have to be Made Directly to your Supervisor: What if the harassment is coming from your supervisor? Or what if your supervisor is especially close to the harasser? Most company policies will indicate that you can go to an authority within the company that you are comfortable reporting the misconduct to. It may be a human resource advisor or a supervisor from another department, the important thing is that the behavior get reported so that further action can be taken to resolve it.
- Don’t Be Surprised By the Outcome: The outcome may not necessarily be what you expected. It’s always a good idea for the employer to ask the employee what it is that he/she would like to see happen as a result of the complaint. Depending on the company’s size, it may be an easy request to accommodate. However, there’s always the possibility that your requests may not be acclimated. Prepare yourself; it is possible that the person you’ve accused of wrongdoing may simply receive a warning or training, or they may transfer departments. Then there’s always the likelihood that he/she may end up working alongside you after the investigation is complete.
- You have options: If after the investigation you are not pleased with the results, you may want to contact an employment law attorney; one that is experienced in sexual harassment and discrimination so that you can take the next step in properly resolving the issues of working in a hostile job environment.
Here at the law firm of DEREK T. SMITH LAW GROUP, PLLC, we are passionate about fighting for your employment law rights.
If you or someone you know has been experiencing workplace sexual harassment, discrimination or working in a hostile job environment, then you should immediately contact an NYC, NJ, PA sexual harassment, employment law attorney at the Derek Smith Law Group PLLC.
Call today and schedule your FREE Consultation. You can reach us online or by calling 877-469-5297. We serve clients throughout New York, including Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. We also have offices in New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Miami to serve you.