How to Report Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a prevailing issue in the workplace in today’s world. While we’ve made great strides in increasing awareness and encouraging open dialogue about this difficult subject, it still exists, and it’s critical to understand the right actions to take when reporting such events.
What is Sexual Harassment?
First, it’s important to understand what sexual harassment is. Unwanted sexual advances, physical touching, verbal remarks, or other forms of sexually inappropriate behavior fall under this category. Keep in mind that sexual harassment does not have to be overt to be harmful; subtle comments or actions can still represent a hostile work environment. If you are unsure, or believe that you were sexually harassed at work, do not hesitate to contact our sexual harassment attorneys in San Diego for a free consultation.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, and national origin. This federal law applies to public and private companies with 15 or more employees, ensuring a basic level of protection exists across different workplaces. By defining and codifying gender-based discrimination and harassment, Title VII offers a legal framework for addressing the issue.
State Laws Extend Protections Further
While Title VII provides essential protections, it’s important to recognize that state laws often extend these protections to a broader range of situations. For example, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits sexual harassment in all public or private entities with one or more employees. This legislation ensures that companies operating in California are held to the highest standard when it comes to workplace behavior and protections for workers.
How to Report Incidents of Sexual Harassment
In today’s world, the issue of sexual harassment at the workplace is unfortunately still prevalent. As we strive for gender equality and safe working environments, knowing how to report sexual harassment remains a vital skill.
Record Incidents on Paper for Documentation
In cases of sexual harassment, it’s crucial to document everything you can, including dates, times, locations, witnesses, and the specifics of each incident. This information will be valuable when reporting the issue and seeking legal action if necessary, as it corroborates your claims and helps paint a clear picture of the harassment.
Report the Incident to Your Employer and Ask About Complaint Procedures
After you’ve documented the inappropriate behavior, you should notify your employer or human resources department. Inform them of your experiences and ask about their process for addressing workplace harassment. Make sure you follow their procedures to ensure that your grievances receive the attention they deserve.
File a Formal Complaint with the EEOC or DFEH
To further pursue your case, you can file a formal complaint against your employer with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Be aware of deadlines when filing these complaints, as missing them can jeopardize your case.
Obtain a Right-to-Sue Notice
Once you’ve filed your complaint with either the EEOC or DFEH, you’ll need to wait for a right-to-sue notice from the agency. This notice allows you to proceed with a lawsuit against your employer. The deadline for filing a lawsuit is either 90 days or one year, depending on which agency issued the notice.
Why Reporting Sexual Harassment Matters
Reporting sexual harassment is essential for several reasons. First and foremost, it gives the victim an opportunity to assert their rights and hold their harasser accountable. Additionally, reporting these incidents allows organizations to address the issue, improve workplace culture, and prevent future harassment from occurring. This ultimately means a safer and more inclusive work environment for all.
If you need help with a sexual harassment claim, we’re here for you. Contact Browne Employment Lawyers to schedule a free consultation.