Thanks to the #MeToo movement, more and more workers have felt empowered to step up and report instances of sexual harassment in the workplace. And many Ohio workplaces are moving closer to zero-tolerance policies regarding sexual harassment.
Unfortunately, sexual harassment claims are still the second most common claims filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), with nearly 24,655 charges in 2018.
With how common sexual harassment still is, workers must know what they should do if they face harassment in the workplace.
1. Preserve evidence
It might be stressful but documenting the harassment can make a significant difference to obtain justice. This often requires:
- Saving harassing emails or messages on a secure drive; and
- Keeping a written record of harassment, including dates and times.
Maintaining such evidence helps to strengthen and support claims.
2. Understand your rights
Most workers know that workplace sexual harassment is against the law. However, it can be incredibly helpful for workers who experience harassment to take time and understand the specific rights they have under these laws.
For example, workers should review:
- Their company’s policy on sexual harassment;
- Ohio laws governing sexual harassment and retaliation; and
- Federal laws, such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
In many cases, it can often be beneficial for workers to consult an experienced attorney to determine and protect their rights.
When workers understand their rights, they can move forward with their claim with confidence and knowledge.
3. File a complaint
Workers must follow the company policy when reporting sexual harassment. These policies generally direct workers to file a complaint with their supervisor and Human Resources.
Reporting harassment within the workplace might be intimidating, but it is often necessary for workers to report the harassment before they can take legal action. Additionally, reporting the harassment makes the employer liable for further harassment if they take no action.