Reporting Sexual Harassment at Work: What You Need to Know

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment isn’t just dirty jokes. 44% of Americans have been sexually harassed at least once. 61% of men and 69% of women who experience sexual harassment experience it in the workplace.

Everyone must take steps to create a safe work environment. That’s why reporting sexual harassment at work is so important. You have the power to make misconduct end and create a better company. 

What is sexual harassment? How can you start reporting sexual harassment? Who can you go to for support? 

Answer these questions and you can be part of the solution for sexual harassment. Here is your quick guide.

Many Behaviors Count as Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is any unwanted sexual advance. Many people assume that they must experience multiple acts of sexual harassment in the workplace before they can report it. In reality, you can complain after one incident of misconduct. 

Sexual harassment can involve verbal or physical behaviors. Making an offensive joke, showing pornography in the workplace, and sexually assaulting someone all count as harassment. 

Anyone can sexually harass anyone else. Though most cases of sexual harassment involve men insulting women, women can insult men or other women.

You Can Tell the Harasser to Stop

The easiest way to deal with sexual harassment is to tell the harasser to stop. This lets the harasser know that their conduct is unwelcome and abusive. They may stop right away. 

You are under no obligation to confront them face-to-face. You can send them a text, make a phone call, or write them a letter.

Whatever you do, make sure you have proof of what you have done. Print out a copy of your letter and keep it in your files.

You Can Go to Supervisors

You are under no obligation to confront your harasser. You can go straight to your company supervisors, especially after an egregious act of sexual harassment. 

You can always make an anonymous report. You can send an email from another account, and some companies offer hotlines so employees can make complaints. 

The human resources department may be the first department to contact you. An HR representative may ask you to give a statement, and you should try to give them the information they need. If they don’t side with you, you should go up the chain of command.

The Government Accepts Sexual Harassment Complaints

After you try reporting your harasser to your company, you should go to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC imposes a time limit for filing a charge, so you should move quickly. 

Your conversation with the EEOC is confidential. But you should have information to corroborate your story. You can share text messages, audio recordings, and photographs of the misconduct.

You can talk to a lawyer before you go to the EEOC. You should compare the services of this lawyer to others and determine which one would be best for you.

You Can Start Reporting Sexual Harassment at Work

Reporting sexual harassment at work requires a few steps. You should bear in mind that any unwelcome sexual activity is harassment. It does not matter if your harasser never touched you. 

What does matter is that you tell your harasser that they are making you uncomfortable. The situation may resolve itself right then and there. 

If it doesn’t, you should go to your company for support. You can then go to the EEOC with a lawyer’s help. 

Keep educating yourself about sexual harassment. Read more guides about workplace harassment by following our coverage.

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About the Author: Rachel Dixon

Rachel Dixon works on travel and features at Daily Mid Time