Many people often fear to report cases of sexual harassment at the workplace for various reasons. You may fear judgment, being called a liar or the whole process in general. The big issue is that you end up allowing the offenders to continue with their behavior without correction. You also fail to give yourself a chance to be compensated for it, which you may need to get therapy depending on the severity. Whether the offender is a senior person at the company or someone you think people won’t believe you if you reported, you have to get justice.
What Are the Types of Workplace Harassment?
There are various kinds of sexual harassment, and understanding them is a great way to know whether you were assaulted and what steps to take. The following are the common types that exist.
Hostile Environment Harassment
It occurs when a person at the workplace abuses another by making comments of a sexual nature or touching them inappropriately. This type in many cases happens when a senior person is an offender hence making the office environment uncomfortable for the junior.
Quid Pro Quo
It is the most commonly reported type of harassment that occurs when a person in a senior position asks and expects sexual favors from a junior. It also includes certain sexual favors such as dress code, calling them in a certain way or other activities that lead to their sexual satisfaction. This is usually done with something hanging over their head such as a threat to fire them or a promise of promotion.
This happens when a worker isn’t the one directly harassed by the offender, but they are affected by their offensive comments even when it wasn’t directed at them. This can be anything such as a negative comment about their gender, or other sexually related mentions. In such a case you have every right to report the person especially if it is a regular occurrence.
What Steps Can You Take After Being Sexually Harassed?
The first thing is to find out whether the act happened, or you may have misinterpreted something. It’s usually not easy to do since there is no clear line on how far someone can go without feeling offended. However, the main rule here is that if you feel harassed then you can consider it as sexual harassment and take the following actions.
Report to the Human Resources Department
Different companies have guidelines for these kinds of events, so it is best to follow what is provided in your regulations. One of the common things is to submit a complaint in person. Usually you may have a session with the HR officer who asks questions about the offense to get to the bottom of it. Answer carefully and give as many details as you can remember.
Follow up with a Letter
If you didn’t write a letter reporting the harassment, but only made a verbal report, then you should follow up in writing. This is encouraged a while after reporting, yet no action has been taken. Make sure to reference that you had already submitted the report including dates and the officer with whom you spoke. The letter should contain all the details of your complaint as accurately as you told it. If possible, write this later after visiting HR to ensure that you don’t forget what you said.
Decide if You Want to Sue
Many companies still brush sexual assault reports under the rug so you have the right to decide whether you would like to progress with the case. If no action is taken in a few weeks, then you should talk to a lawyer to find out your options. Some companies or the offender may threaten you after the report, so if this happens, you need a lawyer.