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What does your employee handbook say about sexual harassment?

If you have reason to believe you've been the victim of sexual harassment at your place of employment, reviewing your employee handbook is one of the first steps you should take.

According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination. In addition to this federal law, there are state laws in place to protect you as well.

As you review your employee handbook, pay attention to these details:

  • Examples of common forms of sexual harassment, including verbal, non-verbal and physical
  • The steps you should take if you feel that you're the victim of sexual harassment
  • The process that your company will take to investigate your claim
  • The timeline for receiving a response from your employer

Unfortunately, reviewing your employee handbook is not always enough. You also need to take action, which starts by letting your employer know what's happening.

In addition to filing a formal complaint with your HR department, collect evidence related to the act of harassment. This can be as simple as witness statements or an email from your harasser.

If your company doesn't take the necessary action to make things right, turn your attention to your legal rights. There are federal and state laws in place to protect you against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

Depending on the details surrounding the incident, you may be in a position to seek compensation from your employer.

Set yourself up for success by following your company's reporting procedures, collecting evidence and keeping detailed notes regarding the harassment and your employer's actions.

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