Reporting About Sexual Harassment

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Although the number of sexual harassment claims is on the rise, one question arises: Why didn’t the victim report on time? There are several reasons behind this. Sometimes, the sufferers think nobody would believe them. Other times, they believe the crime was not bad enough to warrant a complaint. However, some individuals do want to file a report, but they do not have the knowledge they need regarding the steps they must take, or to whom they should address their grievances. More often than not, such harassments take place at the office. Most companies have an established protocol about how to report about these types of harassments. Remember, not reporting sexual harassment incidents just encourages the doer to attempt more harassments.

Step-by-Step Procedure

Make sure you note all the details, including the date and the time, about the harassment and the attempts you took to stop it. Put it somewhere safe, like in your computer, and remember where it is. If other employees witnessed the event, you should include their names in the documentation. If someone else in the office sends you lewd messages and pictures via email and messenger, store them in a secure location. If necessary, store those details on a pen drive, so that you still have the data, even if the perpetrator of the crime manages to delete the incriminating evidence from your computer. Make sure you include the terms “contemplation of litigation,” in the note. This is an important step, because it implies that you keep these notes in preparation to file a lawsuit. Also, check the laws regarding “surreptitious” in your state, because certain states must record a single party’s conversation, and other states require the consent of both parties. It is a good idea to talk with a lawyer if you plan to record your harasser in secret.

Get the Help of an Attorney

If your boss does not settle the issue, and you still get harassed, or if you expect retaliation by the harasser after your complaint, it is time to seek the services of a sexual harassment lawyer. Remember, this is the last approach, and you should take it if you find all other avenues closed. It is imperative to contact a lawyer as soon as possible if you think the harassment causes you emotional stress, or if the harassment affects your ability to perform your job to your satisfaction. Remember, there is a window of 180 to 300 days from the date you were harassed to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. This window varies by state, and it’s very important, because you or your lawyer cannot file a lawsuit without it.