Any sexual advance or conduct that is non-consensual or offensive to the office environment can be categorized as sexual harassment. Sadly, it still happens across workplaces. In the hindsight of the #MeToo movement, a lot of facts and stories about workplace sexual harassment came into public view. Sexual harassment in the workplace is not just limited to glamour or high profile industries and, a large percentage of harassment goes unreported and an even lower percentage of victims file formal complaints.
Sexual harassment at workplace leads to uncomfortable situations, embarrassment, and victims even suffer from anxiety and depression as a result of such occurrences. If you find yourself at the receiving end of such a situation, don’t cower for there are a lot of ways to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace.
Be Aware of Your Options
Read up on your organisation’s policy on sexual harassment, gather knowledge about reporting norms and the process of grievance handling. This should give you an idea of who to address without fear of retaliation.
Record All Details
Collect all particulars of the incident including time, place, and witness names, if any, and attach relevant emails, messages, or other social media communications. Store them safely outside of your office’s reach.
Make a Formal Complaint to Your Employer
Follow up any verbal complaints with formal reporting that includes email confirmation so that records are maintained of the incident with your detailed notes. Make sure that your complaint is not dismissed, and that the complaint is brought to the correct authority in your workplace.
Reach Out to Trusted Co-Workers
Talk to your colleagues to find out past precedents, if any, and garner support from allies and witnesses. If there is a fear of retaliation, co-workers can be a means of support in further reporting to relevant authorities.
Record Your Work Performance
In sexual harassment cases, job performance of the victim often becomes a target, therefore, document your good work, evaluations, and commendable emails. Retaliation to sexual harassment complaints are illegal but do happen, this step can help you protect your rights.
Take Legal Recourse
If an employer or organization fails to address sexual harassment charges, then the next step is to file a legal complaint with the authorities under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010. Remember that even single incidents should be reported and complaints should not wait for incidents to be repeated.
Organizations have a legal obligation and an ethical responsibility to maintain workplaces where such incidents should not occur. In this regard, they should develop a clear sexual harassment policy and training. It also makes good business sense to avoid attrition, bad reputation, and lawsuits that result from workplace sexual harassment.
If your concerns and complaints are not being investigated or addressed with solutions, it is time to consider hiring an attorney. At this point, turn to professionals like criminal lawyers in Parramatta who will help with the right advice and approach to a solution. They can help you find justice while keeping all your priorities and your safety of paramount importance. If your employer retaliates against you for filing complaints, that too can be addressed with legal recourse.