What should I do if I am experiencing sexual harassment at work?

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What should I do if I am experiencing sexual harassment at work?

While no one should ever be harassed in the workplace, the reality is that unless you take action to stop it, the behavior will likely continue. Fortunately, the law requires your employer to take your reports of sexual harassment seriously and to take action to create a safe working environment. Employers who fail to do so will be in serious legal jeopardy.  

If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, you can take steps to try to end the unwelcome behavior and protect your legal rights. Find out about your employer’s policy for reporting sexual harassment and follow it as carefully as possible. However, if your employer does not have a policy, or your supervisor is the one harassing you, you may report it to human resources or any other manager in the company. If you think you may be in danger, contact law enforcement or a sexual harassment/sexual assault hotline.

It is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for reporting sexual harassment. While you may not have confidence in your employer, reporting the harassment is a necessary step. Courts have dismissed sexual harassment cases because the employee never notified the employer of what was going on.  

Besides reporting the harassment, there are some other important things you can do to strengthen your case. Be sure to report all incidents of sexual harassment in writing and keep a copy of the written complaint for your records. Make sure you include information about who harassed you, what happened, when it took place, whether there were witnesses and other details you recall. You should also hold on to any emails, text messages, photos, witness accounts or other forms of evidence that may help support your sexual harassment claim. 

A frequent question is whether it is legal to record verbal harassment to prove that it happened. Making such a recording without the other person’s knowledge could potentially be a misdemeanor under California law and may violate your employer’s policies. 

However, the law also recognizes that such a recording could be admissible to disprove a witness who denies that the harassment took place or to refresh your recollection of what was said.

Under California and federal laws, your employer is required to investigate and take immediate corrective steps if misconduct is uncovered. Depending on how severe it is, the employer might not be required to fire the harasser but must stop the harassment from happening again. If you do not hear back timely about the result of the investigation, you can send a polite request for an update. If your employer fails to take proper action in response to your complaint, or the harassment continues, you should contact an experienced employment attorney.  

Working with an experienced employment law attorney will ensure your claim is filed correctly and recovers your maximum damages. A lawyer can help you understand your legal options and help you decide what course of action makes the most sense in your specific circumstances. Contact McCormack Law Firm to speak to a San Francisco, sexual harassment lawyer.

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