Every day millions of men and women get up and go to work, but for a large number of people they are filled with a sense of dread because they are harassed by co-workers or supervisors either because of their sex or race. If you are a victim of sexual harassment you may be wondering “What do I do?” Since this behavior makes for a hostile work environment you can take actions to stop it.
Defining sexual harassment can be complicated because what constitutes as offensive to one person may be acceptable to another. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines sexual harassment as “Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment.”
If this applies to your situation you have rights, and can report the offending co-worker whether they are supervisor or a co-worker. If the abuse is pervasive, as opposed to a single incident, you should report the misconduct to the management of the company you work for. If this fails to stop the behavior then you can turn to turn to an outside source such as a sexual harassment attorney or the EEOC to make your employer address the issue.
Because sexual harassment can create a great deal of emotional distress for the object of the harassment, they are eligible for financial compensation. But you must first file a complaint with the EEOC within 180 days of an alleged incident before a sexual harassment lawyer can file a private lawsuit. To find a local EEOC office in your area you can follow this link for a list www.eeoc.gov.
After you have filed a complaint with the EEOC, you can then decide if you wish to pursue a lawsuit seeking punitive damages. You have the choice of pursuing a suit through the EEOC or by hiring a sexual harassment attorney. You are more likely to maximize your final settlement through a private suit so many harassment victims chose this route.