If you suspect you have been a victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment, don't ignore the problem. As uncomfortable as you may be, know that the law is on your side if you are being sexually harassed (especially in California). Empower yourself by taking action.
1. Tell the harasser to stop.
Speak up and let your harasser know that their behavior is inappropriate, unwelcome and you would like it to stop. In any sexual harassment case it is important to show that the harasser's behavior was unwanted. You may tell them verbally, in writing or both. Though you do not have to provide a written request to stop, it helps to offer additional proof that you did indeed alert the harasser of their unwelcome behavior.
2. Document the situation(s) and keep notes.
Keep a written account of each situation that occurs. Include the date, time, location, what occurred and if anyone else was present. Save any letters, emails, text messages, or gifts that the harasser has sent you. This documentation should be kept on your own personal computer or other non-work device. Do not use your office computer or leave any of your documentation at work.
3. Report it to your employer.
Consult your employee handbook for the appropriate steps to report sexual harassment. Follow the company's procedure and be sure to report it verbally and in writing, including the documentation you have been keeping. If your company does not have a sexual harassment policy in place, speak to the HR department, your immediate supervisor, or a trusted high level executive.
4. File an Administrative Complaint
You have up to one year to file a sexual harassment complaint with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and 180 days from the time of the incident to file with the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Read more about filing complaints in this blog.
5. Get an attorney involved early
Get the advice and guidance of an attorney; one that is experienced with sexual harassment cases. They will counsel you on how to handle the situation and assist you with filing complaints. The lawyers with Kingsley & Kingsley located in Los Angeles, California have a wealth of experience fighting for victims of discrimination and harassment. To have an attorney evaluate your claim, contact our firm today for a free initial consultation. Or you can call us here in Los Angeles: 888-500-8469.