HOUSTON, Texas. If you are facing sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to report it as soon as possible. If we were living in a perfect world, women who reported sexual harassment to human resources would be heard and protected. Unfortunately, many women who report sexual harassment face a long road to justice. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, anywhere between 87 and 94 percent of people don’t report sexual harassment. According to Bustle, many people don’t report harassment because they fear reprisal, retaliation, and stress. The New York Times recently released a series of videos that highlight the serious costs women pay when they report sexual harassment on the job. For the women who worked at Uber, she had to change teams and eventually left the company. HR gave her the option of staying on the team led by her harasser (where she was told she might face a bad review) or the option of leaving the team. The situation highlights how easy sexual harassment on the job can lead to lost opportunities. For a woman who worked for Bill O’Reilly, she reached a private settlement, but has never worked in television since. When sexual harassment comes from the top (executives, managers, bosses), individuals can face lost jobs, lost opportunities, or retaliation. When individuals are sexually harassed, they may face tough choices. Report the harassment, or leave the job; or, report the harassment and risk facing backlash from managers and other leaders in the company. These decisions can leave individuals choosing between personal dignity and their careers: a choice no one should ever have to make.
Yet, stopping the cycle often means speaking up. But what can you do, if you’ve spoken up and no one is listening?
First, make sure you document everything. Report the harassment in detail and in writing. Save all emails you send and follow-up if you don’t hear back in a timely manner. Read up on your workplace’s policy on harassment and speak up if HR isn’t following through. Finally, you may want to compare your workplace’s policies to the Civil Rights Act, which protects individuals from having to endure unwanted sexual advances or sexual language in the workplace. If you aren’t sure about your rights or about the law, you may want to speak to an employment lawyer in Houston, like Moore & Associates who can review your workplace’s HR policies and help you through the process.
Sometimes the harassment simply doesn’t stop. If you still are facing sexual harassment, you may have to quit your job or ask to be moved to another department. No one should ever have to endure a demeaning or threatening work situation. If this results in economic loss or hardship, you may have certain rights under the law. You should always take action to protect yourself. First, consider your safety and emotional well-being. If sexual harassment results in economic loss, you may be able to seek damages from your employer. Consider speaking to the employment lawyer at Moore & Associates in Houston, Texas today. Our firm can help you understand your rights and the legal processes available to you.