3 Tips to Overcome Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Business team having a heated argument in a office Image: Depositphotos.com
Business team having a heated argument in a office Image: Depositphotos.com

Sexual harassment in the workplace is never okay and it’s something more people than you realize end up dealing with every day at their place of employment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that it’s against the law for someone to engage in any behaviors that are sexual and create a hostile environment at the workplace. While it may be illegal to touch, bully, make remarks, and even joke about sexually-offensive content, it still happens far too often. If you’ve dealt with sexual harassment in the workplace, here are three tips to help you overcome the trauma, on top of the conventional advice to seek out a workplace sexual harassment lawyer.

3 Tips to Overcome Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

State to the Perpetrator that it’s Unwanted Behavior

While a lot of people have trouble letting their feelings be known about sexual harassment, you must speak up to the perpetrator. You want the perpetrator to know that the actions or behaviors are unwelcome and unwanted and you have to make that clear from the beginning.

Tell them that what they are saying or doing is inappropriate and it’s making you uncomfortable. You can tell the perpetrator in writing if you’re more comfortable with that approach or verbally, but it shouldn’t be ignored. The behaviors oftentimes progress, so not verbally communicating with them that what they are doing is wrong will not stop it from continuing. You also want to ensure you’re not interacting with them outside of work at all. Being around them outside of the workplace could invite more harassment or possibly send a signal that you’re okay with the behavior.

Write Down the Details & Report to Proper Resources

When you’ve experienced sexual harassment at work the best thing for you to do is immediately make a record of what happened. What you want to do is write the details down of what happened and when. You should never write this information down at work or on any work device. A personal phone or computer at your home is your best bet just in case a sudden situation happens at work. You want to write down the details not long after the fact so that you remember all of the important details. Make sure to write down the time, the specific place, which co-worker was the perpetrator, and what exactly happened. If someone else was around when the incident happened, you want to ask them to also write down what they saw happen so that you have another person corroborating your statement.

Once that information has been written down and all pertinent details have been noted, you should then contact and report the sexual harassment to the proper resource. For some businesses, it’s best to reach out to Human Resources with the details about the sexual harassment. Other people or businesses might have a supervisor or other department where these incidents should be reported to. Make sure that you tell the appropriate person or department since it’s a legal obligation to then look into the matter and investigate all allegations. If the person or department doesn’t investigate the situation, then you can always file a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, but it’s good to go up the chain of command at your workplace first.

Never Blame Yourself & Realize Closure Happens In Various Ways

As with all sexual harassment situations, it’s never your fault that it happened to you. The perpetrator and only the perpetrator are to blame for the situation. Don’t feel ashamed, guilty, or that you did something to cause the situation. You won’t heal if you’re blaming yourself for what transpired, regardless of the outcome at your workplace. Blaming yourself only will cause you more anxiety, depression, and likely will lead to low self-esteem. There’s no way you can control what another person does, and it’s only within your power to control your response.

Having closure is an important part of overcoming sexual harassment whether it’s at work or somewhere else. In terms of your workplace, the closure could happen in various ways and you should be prepared for that. If the person is fired then that’s a peaceful and just way to find closure, but that doesn’t always happen. Some people find it useful to change shifts to get away from the perpetrator if they aren’t fired. Detaching from the traumatic experience altogether might also be how you get closure, which means you might choose to quit your job and move onto another company to start fresh. And always remember that you have the right to seek counsel from a sexual harassment attorney that serves your region like such as a San Diego, Sexual Harassment lawyer.