What to do if you are sexually harassed in your workplace
PADUCAH, KY – The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.”
If you are going through something that you consider to be harassment, speak up right away. You should report the harassment to your supervisor or human resources department.
Human resources will investigate your claims. Then, they will decide on a course of action.
Although we have seen several prominent people fired, that is not always the immediate action. Beth Riddle, vice president of human resources at Computer Services, Inc., said “for someone to be terminated, it is going to have to be a proven allegation.”
Riddle said she is not aware of any statute of limitations on reporting harassment in the workplace, but you should report it right away.
“If an employee was harassed in the workplace and it resulted in continual harassment or possibly retaliation from a supervisor or a manager, then legally, you could get an attorney and file a claim against the company,” said Riddle. She said the claim would be against the company and not the individual, because the company is in charge of their employees’ actions.
“If the employee never brought the claim forward, if they never took the complaint to the human resources department or tried to get help, then chances are they wouldn’t have much of a case,” said Riddle. “An attorney would tell them that.” She said reporting it to someone in your organization should be your first action.
There are many forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, and sometimes there is no criminal action you can take. The only action may be to go to your employer.