How Can I Prove Workplace Sexual Harassment After a Consensual Relationship Ends?
Despite increased cultural awareness of the potential power imbalance inherent in certain workplace relationships, people continue to meet, date, and eventually marry romantic partners at work. The constant close proximity with colleagues, in addition to the challenges people often tackle at work together, create an easy opportunity for close personal relationships to develop.
Although these relationships may start consensually and may not violate any workplace agreements or codes of conduct, when they end, the awkwardness and unpleasantness of a personal breakup often carry over into the workplace. Unfortunately, one former partner may continue to act in a sexually aggressive way or make unwanted advances at work. If you are the target of this type of sexual harassment, it is important to know that you are still a victim of unethical behavior that may rise to the level of illegality. Your employer may be responsible for taking action.
Can Sexual Harassment Happen at Work After a Breakup?
Victims of sexual harassment from a former romantic partner may be hesitant to come forward because of the fear of exposing their relationship, facing ridicule, or not being taken seriously. This can be especially true when one or both former partners are either married or in a relationship with someone else and a workplace sexual harassment claim risks exposing a secret relationship that could jeopardize someone’s marriage.
Nevertheless, sexual harassment from a former partner is real and can be exceptionally bothersome. You may face:
- Unwanted touching, invasion of personal space, comments, or communications
- Gossiping or spreading rumors
- Having personal information disclosed to other coworkers
- Threats of coercion of exposure unless you give sexual favors
- Threats of adverse employment actions
What Should I Do if My Former Partner is Sexually Harassing Me at Work?
If any of this sounds familiar to you, then you need to take action - even if doing so is uncomfortable or potentially embarrassing. You may not be able to make a sexual harassment claim without first asking the person harassing you to stop.
Next, you need to start documenting each incident. Write down when it happened, where it happened, what was said or done, how you responded, and whether there were any witnesses. You can then take this information to your company’s Human Resources department. If your company is smaller, you may not have an HR department and may need to go directly to your boss instead. If your boss is the person sexually harassing you, you should contact an experienced workplace sexual harassment attorney to help you manage your case, protect you from retaliation, and to take action to make the sexual harassment stop once and for all.
Call a DuPage County Workplace Sexual Harassment Lawyer
A prior consensual relationship is no excuse for current and ongoing workplace sexual harassment. If you are being sexually harassed at work, cannot get the help you need from your employer, and are not sure which steps to take next, call a Wheaton, IL workplace sexual harassment attorney with Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick & Mirabella, LLC. We can help you assess your case in a free consultation, collect evidence proving the harassment constitutes a hostile workplace or quid pro quo sexual harassment, and move forward in taking legal action against the responsible parties if necessary. Call 630-665-7300 today.