How to File a Sexual Harassment Complaint
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How Do you File a Sexual Harassment Complaint?
Sexual harassment in the workplace is illegal under state and federal laws. The typical procedure for filing a sexual harassment claim is as follows:
- First, review company policies. Your employer should have mechanisms in place that allow you to make a complaint through the human resources department of your company.
- If that doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to file with a government administration agency such as the EEOC. The agency will investigate your claim and may take action with your employer to provide for your remedy.
- If that still doesn’t resolve the situation, you may have to file a lawsuit in civil court. This will require you to provide evidence in support of your claim, such as written statements or witness testimony.
Most state laws require you to “exhaust the possible remedies” before you can file a lawsuit. In particular, filing with a government agency is usually required before you can file a private lawsuit.
Thus, you should be prepared to take several steps in connection with your sexual harassment claim.
Are There Different Kinds of Sexual Harassment Complaints?
Yes- there are two basic types of sexual harassment claims:
- Hostile Work Environment: This is where there is an overall environment that is offensive towards a person or a particular sex. This may involve one worker making remarks, or a group of people creating an inappropriate atmosphere. This is a common form of sexual harassment
- “Quid Pro Quo” Sexual Harassment: This occurs where another worker, usually a supervisor, requests sexual favors in exchange for benefits like a pay raise or promotions.
Understanding the different forms that sexual harassment can take will help you when filing your claim. Some employees may actually be able to file a legal claim, but end up not doing so because they don’t understand the definition of sexual harassment.
What If I Was Fired or Penalized for Filing a Sexual Harassment Claim?
Firing or penalizing an employee because they have filed a harassment claim is also illegal. This known as “retaliatory discharge” or “employee retaliation,” and is prohibited by state and federal laws.
Thus, if you were fired or penalized in retaliation for filing a claim against your employer, you may also have a claim for retaliation (in addition to the sexual harassment claim). If retaliation is proven, you may be able to obtain remedies such as being reinstated to your former job position, and obtaining back wages for the pay that you lost.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Sexual Harassment Issues?
Filing a sexual harassment claim can often be intimidating and sometimes challenging. If you feel that you’ve been subject to sexual harassment, you may need to hire an employment lawyer for assistance with the process. Your lawyer can provide instructions on how to file a sexual harassment claim, whether it’s through your company’s HR department, or through other avenues. Sexual harassment is a serious violation, and employees cannot be punished for reporting instances of abuse or harassment.
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Last Modified: 02-02-2017 03:58 PM PST
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