Sexual harassment is still common in the workplace despite advances. It can be blatant, but it also can be so subtle that it is difficult to report. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment, here are steps you can take to protect yourself.
Document the harassment
Detail what you saw or heard as thoroughly as possible. List down the exact time, place and date of any incidents. Be specific. Note the name of the responsible party and include the names of any witnesses. Make a log or diary if it happens more than once.
Check the company’s sexual harassment policy
New York City enacted the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace and to encourage reporting. The law requires your employer to have sexual harassment prevention programs and policies to help employees acknowledge and report all forms of harassment. Follow the procedures outlined in your company policy.
Refuse any sexual advances explicitly
Let the harasser know that what they are doing is wrong and that you gave no consent. No matter who that person is or their position in the office, you have the right to refuse any form of sexual harassment. You should also make a record of how you refused their advances.
Report the harassment to management
Immediately contact your supervisors and let them know about the incident. It would be best if you also spoke with the human resource department. Make sure all your complaints are in writing.
Continue work as normal
You can protect yourself from retaliation by continuing to work as you normally would. Remember, you did nothing wrong, and the harasser should be the only party evaluated for poor behavior.
Get emotional support
Sexual harassment can be psychologically and emotionally traumatizing. You can feel isolated in your office, but you should know you are not alone. Confide in your family and friends or even contact a mental health professional.
The law requires your employer to safeguard and protect their employees. The workplace should not be a hostile working environment. Protect yourself and others that may be experiencing the same harassment.