Facing sexual harassment in any capacity can leave you feeling traumatized. If you have endured such actions at work, you have several options for addressing the incident. Your employer has a responsibility to create a safe work environment, and, therefore, your first steps will likely involve filing a complaint with your supervisor and company. If the individuals in charge do not properly address the matter, you may wish to take further legal steps in order to right the injustice.
Step 1: File a complaint
After facing acts of sexual harassment, you may want to simply forget the incident, but not taking action could lead the offender to continue the harassment toward you or other individuals. Filing a complaint with your supervisor or human resources department works toward ensuring that personnel create a record of your harassment claims. These records could come in handy during any internal investigations that the company should carry out and later if you file a lawsuit.
Step 2: Understand employer obligations
Because encouraging a safe work environment falls under the responsibility of your employer, you may want to understand company policies for handling instances of sexual harassment. By having this information, you may have better capabilities when it comes to determining whether the necessary individuals take the proper steps to investigate your concerns. If no follow-up to your complaint takes place, this lack of action may further your potential need for legal action.
Step 3: Keep your own records
If an internal investigation or lawsuit takes place, your records of the events may prove useful. As mentioned, filing a complaint with the appropriate parties creates a record of your claim, and your personal detailing of any harassing incidents, when you filed your complaint and other related information could provide evidence if needed. Your dates, times and people involved could prove particularly useful if supervisors or other personnel do not follow through with their obligations for addressing your complaints.
Step 4: Addressing inaction
If your employer fails to adequately deal with your concerns, you may wish to take further action. Filing a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could help strengthen your voice and have your concerns explored. If your claim is validated, you may have the right to carry out a lawsuit.
Step 5: Filing a lawsuit
If you feel that your situation warrants further legal action, you have options. Filing a civil lawsuit could allow you the opportunity to fight for compensation of damages resulting from the sexual harassment you suffered. Because going through such an ordeal can cause considerable emotional distress, you may wish to seek assistance with your case. An experienced Rhode Island attorney could help you move forward with your case in a sensitive and knowledgeable manner.