Steps to take if you’re being sexually harassed at work

You should never be okay with workplace sexual harassment. If a supervisor or co-worker is making you uncomfortable, it’s important to speak up and take the appropriate steps. It’s your hope that doing so will eliminate the problem once and for all.

Here’s a basic breakdown of the types of steps you can take:

  • Tell the person to stop: Above all else, make it clear to the person who’s harassing you that you’re not okay with it. Be forceful, stand your ground and don’t give them any reason to believe you’ll change your mind in the future.
  • Report the incident: Even if you believe the person will stop, you should still report the incident to your HR department. By filing a formal complaint, you have something to fall back on should the behavior continue in the future.
  • Collect evidence: This comes in many forms, such as witness statements, emails, text messages and voice messages. If it’s something that backs up your claim of harassment, keep it in a safe place for future use.
  • Follow up with your HR department: By doing so, you show that you’re not going to let the harassment slide. Ask them what they’ve done about your complaint, the outcome and what you can expect in the future.
  • Keep your guard up: After reporting someone for sexual harassment, they’re likely to be upset with you. This can lead to additional trouble, such as them attempting to turn your co-workers against you. Don’t let your guard down, as remaining on your toes allows you to pinpoint other actions that are harming your ability to do your job.

Every incident of workplace sexual harassment is serious. Don’t talk yourself into believing that it’s not that big of a deal, as long as the person stops.

If you don’t get satisfaction from your employer, still feel threatened and/or have been retaliated against, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. Learn more about federal and state laws designed to protect employees from sexual harassment.

As you come to understand your legal rights, you’ll soon realize the steps you can take to protect them.