While every person should feel that their workplace is a safe place for them, many men and women have experienced sexual harassment while at work. And although this can be shocking and scary, in order to protect yourself and ensure that this type of behavior isn’t tolerated at your place of business, it’s vital that you take certain steps as soon as you feel that you’ve been sexually harassed.
To help you to know exactly what your next steps should be, here are three things to do when you experience sexual harassment in the workplace.
Document Everything That Has Happened
After you’ve experienced sexual harassment or any sexual advances that were unwelcome or inappropriate, the very first thing you should do is document what happened.
Along with documenting what took place during the harassing event, you should also document any favors that were given to you or offers of preferential treatment or withholding of normal treatment based on the harassment. And, if you have any evidence of these things taking place, like emails and text messages from the harasser, you should gather those files and put them all together in a safe place for when you need to make your case against this person and the actions that were taken against you.
Practice Advocating For Your Own Safe Boundaries
In some situations, sexual harassment may occur because someone doesn’t understand what boundaries you’re comfortable with. So to help ensure that this isn’t an issue, it’s vital that you learn how to advocate for the boundaries that you feel safe in.
To do this, practice saying certain phrases that you think might come up if you’re being sexually harassed. Learning to say things like, “That makes me uncomfortable,” or “What you’re doing is inappropriate,” might help you feel less shocked and frozen if this behavior happens again in the future. This way, you’ll be certain that you’ve made your boundaries clear and there’s no miscommunication on your part.
Report In The Right Way
When you’re ready to report sexual harassment that you’ve experienced at work, you should try to go about this through the appropriate channels in order to have your claims taken seriously and addressed in the right manner.
If there’s a senior leader in your company that you trust, try speaking with them first, especially if they work in the Human Resources department. Another option is to file a claim with the E.E.O.C., which is the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee. But if you’re not able to get any help from these channels, you can always work with your local police department or go public about what you’ve experienced.
No one ever wants to experience sexual harassment. But if this is something you’re going through at work, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you get the support you need and have justice be served.