WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED
Sexual harassment on the job is common. In one recent year, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 11,364 complaints of sexual harassment. Eighty-four percent of the complaints were filed by women and 16 percent by men. This is only the tip of the iceberg, however. Sexual harassment is an illegal activity that goes unreported more often than not. In a recent poll conducted by the Huffington Post, 13 percent of those who responded said they had been sexually harassed by a boss or another superior, and 19 percent reported having been harassed by another employee. Seventy percent said they did not report the harassment!
STEPS TO TAKE WHEN YOU’VE BEEN SEXUALLY HARASSED
Clearly, many victims of this activity consider it part of the price you pay to keep the job you need. But sexual harassment is illegal, and it can and should be stopped. There is no need to suffer in silence because you fear retaliation. Read on to learn the steps you should take if this happens to you.
- Tell the person harassing you to stop. Be clear and emphatic. Let the harasser know that your next step will be to file a complaint with your employer.
- Check your employee handbook to determine if the company has a policy for dealing with sexual harassment. If it does, make a complaint, following the policy to the letter.
- If you belong to a union member, report the harassment to your shop steward. The National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) requires unions to represent and assist their members in ending sexual harassment. Don’t wait; you only have six months from the date of the offense to file a complaint. If your union does not act, you may file a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
- Document the harassment. Photograph offensive material; record a description of the offensive behavior in a journal with dates and details;
- Tell others about the behavior;
- If the harassment reaches the level of a criminal act, i.e. sexual assault, file a police report.
- If possible get copies of your employee evaluations before making an official complaint;
- Consult an employment attorney with experience in handling sexual harassment cases.
- File your complaint (with your attorney’s help) with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), and follow with a lawsuit.
San Diego area, Zeldes, Haeqquist & Eck, LLP, is an employment law firm deeply committed to eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace and a top choice when you’re being harassed.
HOW YOUR SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWYER WILL HELP
When you bring the attorneys at Zeldes, Haeqquist, & Eck on board, we will begin by assisting you in filing a timely claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act or the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). You have a limited amount of time from the last incident to file, so don’t wait to contact our firm.
The California law provides some of the nation’s strictest provisions on sexual harassment in the workplace.
The agency that receives your complaint will conduct its own investigation of the company or organization, and assuming it finds your claim to be valid, will issue a “right-to-sue” letter that allows you and your attorney to file a lawsuit against the company. If the investigation finds that you were not harassed, your attorney can appeal the finding.
Because the often take a long time, your attorney may recommend skipping the agency’s investigation, but you must file a claim before you can initiate a lawsuit.
Your attorney will try to settle your claim out of court whenever possible. You may be entitled to the following:
- Reinstatement if you’ve been terminated as a result of your complaint;
- Compensatory and punitive damages;
- Back pay for lost wages and benefits;
- An injunction forcing the company to put a stop to the harassment
- Attorney fees
EXPERIENCED SAN DIEGO SEXUAL HARASSMENT LAWYERS | ZHE LAW, LLP
To schedule a free consultation with an experienced California sexual harassment lawyer, contact the San Diego law firm of Zeldes, Haeqquist & Eck, LLP, today. You will find our attorneys compassionate, knowledgeable, and committed to preventing this demeaning treatment in the workplace.