Although sexual harassment is prohibited by state and federal law, workplace harassment and discrimination continue to be problems in Illinois. Unfortunately, many employees who are harassed at work never report the inappropriate and unlawful behavior. If you have experienced sexual harassment, you may be unsure whether you should say anything about the harassment. Perhaps you are the type of person who tries to avoid conflict and “get along” with everyone at work. You may even assume that reporting the harassment will only cause greater problems. However, staying silent about workplace sexual harassment is never the answer.
Harassment Rarely Goes Away on Its Own
Unfortunately, sexual harassment tends to escalate if it is not appropriately addressed. If an employee gets away with making crude jokes at another employee’s expense, he or she may make increasingly disparaging remarks. If a supervisor convinces an employee to go out on a date with him or her by implying that the employee will get a favorable performance review, the supervisor may escalate the behavior into inappropriate physical touch. Ignoring inappropriate or harassing behavior only shows the harasser that you are willing to tolerate being mistreated. The harasser may also be emboldened to act inappropriately toward other employees.
The Law Protects You from Retaliation
If you are like most people, you may worry that filing a sexual harassment complaint will get you fired. Fortunately, the law specifically prohibits retaliation against employees who report sexual harassment. Retaliation may take the form of poor performance evaluations, reduced work hours, being assigned an undesirable work schedule or work assignments, demotion, or termination. If you were retaliated against after complaining about sexual harassment at work, speak to a sexual harassment lawyer right away....