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The Ultimate Guide to Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim at Work

Posted by Amber Boyd | Mar 13, 2024 | 0 Comments

Sexual harassment has no place in the workplace, period. But the harsh reality is, this toxicity is still far too common. The good news? You've got rights, and there are clear steps to report harassment and protect yourself.

Let's get into the essential guide for properly filing a sexual harassment claim at work:

Know What It Is Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual conduct that creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment. We're talking about inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, requests for sexual favors in exchange for job benefits, creepy remarks about your appearance, and the display of explicit pics/vids. These behaviors are never okay.

Document Everything From the moment you feel sexually harassed, start gathering receipts. Save any inappropriate emails, texts, or notes. Log all comments, incidents, and interactions - including dates, times, locations, and witnesses. Build up that paper trail evidence.

Study the Company Policy Most employers are legally required to have procedures for reporting sexual harassment. Do a deep dive into your employee handbook or code of conduct. Note who officially receives harassment complaints - whether it's HR, an ethics hotline, your manager, etc. Following protocol strengthens your claim.

Make It Official Once you know the proper channels, submit that formal written complaint letter. Clearly describe the harassment you've endured, identify the perpetrator(s), provide documentation, and explicitly request an immediate investigation and preventive measures. Keep records of all correspondence.

Be Prepared to Escalate If your employer tries to sweep things under the rug instead of taking corrective action, you may need to take further legal steps. You have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and consult an employment lawyer about your rights regarding hostile work environments.

While you have every right to file a sexual harassment claim on your own, hiring an experienced employment lawyer can be hugely advantageous. An attorney will ensure you meet all requirements and deadlines for official complaints. They can intervene if your employer violates procedures or retaliates. A lawyer will also counsel you on the strengths of your case and whether you have grounds to pursue further legal action. Having this expert advocacy takes the burden off your shoulders. A good employment lawyer will fight tenaciously to protect your rights and interest, allowing you to focus on your healing. Their legal expertise and support can make all the difference in holding harassers and negligent employers accountable.

Watch for Retaliation Unfortunately, reporting sexual harassment can lead to retaliation from the perpetrator, managers, or coworkers. But listen up - it's illegal for an employer to punish you for making a legitimate harassment claim. Document any retaliatory behaviors too.

Build Your Support System Reporting workplace sexual harassment takes incredible courage and can take an emotional toll. Surround yourself with a solid support system - work allies, loved ones, and legal counsel if needed. You've got this, but you don't have to go through it alone.

Take Care Dealing with sexual harassment takes a massive mental and emotional toll. The violation of boundaries, feelings of disrespect, and anxiety over retaliation - it's an incredibly difficult experience to go through. That's why it's so important to prioritize your mental health throughout this process. Don't be afraid to seek out counseling or join a support group to process the trauma. Practice self-care activities that help you destress, whether it's exercise, journaling, or quality time with loved ones. Taking care of your mental well-being will help give you the strength and resilience to continue advocating for yourself. You've got this.

Every employee deserves to feel safe, respected, and valued at work - not objectified or disrespected because of gender. By speaking up and demanding accountability, you're enforcing those standards for yourself and the next generation. The path is tough, but don't back down. Collective voices create change. Let's keep calling out this unacceptable behavior until harassment is #CancelledForGood.

About the Author

Amber Boyd

Amber K. Boyd is a versatile professional with strong experience in managing complex litigation matters. She founded Amber K. Boyd Attorney at Law in 2013, where she is the sole practitioner. Ms. Boyd specializes in employment law with a focus on discrimination cases. She also has deep expertise ...


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