Getting Help with Sexual Harassment in the Workplace
Sexual harassment in the workplace is something you think will never happen to you – until it does. If you’re like many employees, you’re probably not prepared to deal with it yourself and may need help addressing the issue. The situation is obviously quite sensitive, so you have understandable concerns about where to turn. A Maryland sexual harassment attorney can provide details on how you should handle the matter, and some general information about getting help will point you in the right direction.
Speak Up and Make a Record
There are some individuals that may not realize their conduct makes you uncomfortable, so you should inform them that you find it offensive. It’s best to make a record of your communication by putting it in writing, such as in an email stating that you’re uncomfortable by certain actions. This may not resolve the problem, but you have put the person on notice that you believe the actions rise to the level of sexual harassment; plus, you have a written document as proof that you informed the person of the inappropriate behavior.
Check Your Employer’s Policies
If the offender doesn’t cease with the conduct that you specifically stated makes you uncomfortable, there may be information in your employee manual or written policies that provide some direction on what to do. Make sure to follow every detail and direction of the process, especially if there is a designated person to whom you should report sexual harassment.
If there is no stated policy for addressing sexual harassment, it’s smart to discuss the matter with your immediate manager or supervisor. In the event that this is the person making you uncomfortable, approach another member of your employer’s management team. You should continue to keep a record of all incidents, including dates, times, and details about the conduct.
File a Sexual Harassment Complaint
When your employer’s internal policies regarding sexual harassment do not resolve your complaint, it may be time to elevate your concerns to the appropriate government agencies. In Maryland, you can speak with an officer at the state’s Commission on Human Relations, who will advise you of your options and investigate the situation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission handles sexual harassment complaints at the federal level, and you can file a complaint with the agency to initiate an investigation.
Another option for resolving sexual harassment in the workplace is to file a civil lawsuit for your injuries, which don’t need to be physical in order to prove your case. If successful, you may be able to:
- Recover back pay if you lost wages or job promotions;
- Obtain compensation for emotional distress;
- Gain your job back if you were fired; and,
- Claim attorneys’ fees and court costs related to your case.
Consult with a Maryland Sexual Harassment Lawyer
If you’re the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you do have options for getting help. Although not every alternative may be appropriate for your situation, you should take action to fight for your rights and ensure it doesn’t happen to someone else. The lawyers at The Casper Firm have experience representing clients in sexual harassment cases and will take strong action to protect your interests under Maryland and federal law. Please contact us for a free consultation to discuss the details of your matter.