Sexual harassment is the most common type of workplace harassment experienced by employees. If you have faced such harassment, it can be highly distressing and affect you severely. It can be confusing to determine the right steps to take after being harassed, and consulting a New Jersey employment lawyer can benefit you tremendously.
They help you understand the various federal and state laws that exist that protect you from sexual harassment in the workplace. They assess your situation and help you take appropriate legal action against your harasser.
What should you do?
Being aware of what constitutes harassment can help you take quick action. Your supervisor or employer may ask for sexual favors in exchange for job benefits such as a promotion; this is also commonly referred to as quid pro quo harassment. They may touch you without your consent, speak to you inappropriately, send suggestive images and texts, and use offensive gestures. It also includes discrimination because of your sex.
- Document evidence.
Maintain a record of the sexual harassment you have suffered. Keep track of the dates, time, place, any witnesses, description of the event, the emotional impact it had on you. If your harasser sent you sexual emails, texts, or pictures, screenshot them and add them to your record.
- Confront your harasser.
While this is not applicable in every case, it is advised to speak to your harasser directly to stop their behavior. Record your conversation with them or send them a follow-up email or discussion regarding the issue to use as evidence if the harassment continues.
- Contact HR.
Most companies have procedures and policies that are followed if there’s a sexual harassment complaint. You can contact your organization’s Human Resources department if you do not feel comfortable addressing the situation with a supervisor. Ensure that you provide them with the evidence you have collected to help prove your report during the investigation.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
If your organization fails to take the appropriate measures after filing a report, you can file a charge with the EEOC. It is a federal agency that prevents you from experiencing such discrimination in the workplace. They carry out a detailed investigation of the situation. If the harasser is found guilty, you are entitled to compensation and other damages while they may face jail time. Regardless of their verdict, you can file a lawsuit against the harasser.
Experiencing sexual harassment can have drastic consequences. Victims suffer from anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and low self-esteem. It is recommended to seek the aid of a therapist that can help you cope with the traumatic incidents and heal.
A lawyer’s guidance can benefit your case significantly. They enable you to make the best choices for a successful outcome and provide you with the legal support you need during this time.