Though illegal, workplace sexual harassment still occurs fairly often in the U.S. In fact, we noted in a recent blog that studies have found that about 1 in every 3 women is sexually harassed on the job at least once by the age of 34.
If you are ever the target of such harassment, understanding the facts about your rights – as well as your employer's responsibilities – can be critical to protecting yourself and taking the rights steps towards justice.
What Employees Should Know about Workplace Sexual Harassment
- Sexual harassment policies adopted by employers can depart from federal statutes – While employers are required to generally abide by federal statutes prohibiting workplace discrimination and harassment, they can also develop distinct policies that are stricter and/or more specific. So, familiarize yourself with your employer's policy. This can inform you of when to take action to report a violation – even if the violation is not necessarily one that violates federal laws.
- Sexual harassment generally involves a pattern of incidents – In other words, a single statement or incident will typically not constitute sexual harassment at work unless it was particularly flagrant. This fact about workplace sexual harassment underscores the importance of noting each instance of harassment, as this can be the key to establishing a pattern and building a case later.
- Recording and reporting sexual harassment is critical – Going hand-in-hand with the above, this fact reveals how to note each instance of sexual harassment so that a pattern can be established if or when necessary. While it's important for workers to create their own records, so they have a log of each instance (with details specific to each incident), they should also report sexual harassment to employers – especially if an employer has policies about this reporting. If sexual harassment at work isn't recorded or reported, it can be difficult (if not impossible) to bring about a sexual harassment lawsuit in the future.
- Employers are obligated to investigate sexual harassment complaints unbiasedly – While these investigations can proceed in various ways, they must be done without bias in order to objectively discover whether harassment occurred. Depending on the allegations and the complaint, these investigations can be extensive, digging into personnel records, work histories, etc.
- Consulting an attorney can be key to understanding your options for proceeding – At any point in the process of reporting, documenting or investigating workplace sexual harassment, workers can consult with a lawyer to find out more about their rights, as well as their best options at every juncture. By consulting with an attorney, workers can empower themselves to fight back and obtain the justice they deserve.
Contact an Atlanta Sexual Harassment Lawyer at Barrett & Farahany, LLP
Have you been sexually harassed at work? If so, you can turn to an experienced Atlanta employment lawyer at Barrett & Farahany, LLP for aggressive legal advocacy and the highest quality legal services.
To learn more about our services and how we can assist you, contact us today by calling (404) 238-7299 or by emailing us using the contact form at the bottom of this screen.