Mistakes to Avoid If You Are Facing Sexual Harassment in a Workplace

Posted on: 8 June 2015

Sexual harassment is a criminal offense. You have the right to take legal action against the person who is harassing you. Hiring a criminal lawyer is a good way of starting your legal redress process, but you can also make the process easier by avoiding these mistakes:

Not Showing That the Behaviors Is Unwanted

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, and the best way of showing that a behavior is unwelcome is to tell the harasser to stop. Therefore, it is difficult to prove that a colleague or boss has been sensually harassing you for a long time if you have never told him or her to stop.

You don't have to tell him or her directly. For example, if you are afraid of the repercussions, then you can do so to a relevant third party such as a boss.

Reporting the Harassment Late

You need to report the harassment to the relevant authority that deals with sexual harassment in your place of work. Moreover, you need to do this early enough so that the employer may help you stop the harassment before it causes further damage. If you don't, then the employer may later argue that he or she isn't responsible for the damages that would have been avoided if you would have made a timely report. This is called an avoidable consequences defense.

Failing to Document the Harassment

A verbal rebuttal of the unwelcome sexual advances is good, but it is much better if you do it in writing. Apart from that, it also makes good sense to keep a journal-like account of the harassment, especially if it is an ongoing issue. Also, save any documents and messages (such as emails or notes) that relate to the harassment. These documentary trails will help your attorney in building a watertight case against the harasser.

Ignoring Contractual Arbitration

If the harassment is happening in a workplace, then you should reexamine the contracts you have signed with your employer. Many businesses these days have their employees sign contracts that require them to try arbitration in cases of difficulties at the workplace. Lawsuits are only allowed if arbitration fails.

If this is the case with your contract, then you should aim for arbitration and only sue the harasser if arbitration fails. Otherwise, you may instigate a lawsuit only to be referred back to arbitration, losing valuable resources in the process.

Whichever mistakes you have made, however, you still need legal protection and redress for your harassment. Therefore, you should not hesitate in contacting a lawyer like Clark & Clark LLC to evaluate your situation even if the harassment has been ongoing for a long time.