Being mistreated at work can be isolating and demoralizing. Many people who find themselves on the receiving end of unwanted sexual attention at work are completely unsure of what to do about it. Some assume that if they ignore the sexual harassment that it will go away, but unfortunately this is rarely the case. If you are being sexually harassed by a colleague or supervisor, you should know that you have every right to stand up for yourself. In fact, doing so will not only help you, but also helps prevent future sexual harassment in your workplace. If you have experienced sexual harassment, do not stay silent.
Survey Confirms Sexual Harassment is Sadly Common
According to a new CareerBuilder survey, approximately 17 percent of women and 7 percent of men claimed to have experienced sexual harassment at work. Data shows that younger employees experience harassment at a more frequent rate than other age groups. The majority of sexual harassment victims do not report the mistreatment or even confront their harasser for fear of being labeled a “trouble-maker” or losing their jobs.
What to Do If You Are Being Sexually Harassed
If you have been the victim of inappropriate and harmful harassment at work, first, know that this behavior is unacceptable. You have a legal right to be free from sexual harassment per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act. The first step in fighting against sexual harassment is to document any and all instances of the inappropriate behavior. Record what was said and done, who was involved, and how the incident has negatively affected your ability to do your job. Next, report the harassment to a superior or your HR department via e-mail so that you have an electronic record of what you reported. If you report the sexual harassment and your employer still refuses to take corrective action, you should immediately meet with a trustworthy employment lawyer....