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What steps should you take after workplace sexual harassment?

Any form of sexual harassment in the workplace requires your full attention. Neglecting to take action may give the harasser the wrong idea, thus exposing you to additional advances in the future.

Here are the most important steps to take after an instance of workplace sexual harassment:

  • Say no: Don't give the harasser any idea that you're okay with their behavior. Speak up, tell them to stop and let them know that you'll report them if the behavior continues.
  • Review your employee handbook: This should provide more information on how to report sexual harassment. If it doesn't, consult with your HR department on the next steps.
  • Keep records of all sexual harassment related behavior: For example, write down when you were harassed, including the location, time and date. Also, record any conversations you have with your supervisor or HR department. All of this information may help you in the future.

Sometimes, your employer will take the necessary steps in putting an end to the problem. However, this doesn't always happen. If your complaint is swept under the rug or you're retaliated against, it may be time to take legal action. Remedies often include:

  • Back pay
  • Reinstatement if you were terminated
  • Damages for emotional distress
  • Requirement for your employer to implement a sexual harassment training program

These are the most important steps to take if you're the victim of workplace sexual harassment. Not only should you protect yourself, but you should also protect your legal rights. Doing so will go a long way in showing your harasser and employer that you mean business.

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