Sexual Harassment Checklist 

  • Complain
  • Keep a Record of the Harassing Conduct
  • If You Need Professional Help Coping with the Effects of Sexual Harassment – Get it
  • Know Your Rights
  • Talk to a Sexual Harassment Attorney
    1. Complain

    If you have been sexually harassed at work, it is very important that you take immediate action to protect your rights.  This includes telling the harasser that his/her conduct is unwelcome and complaining to a supervisor or your company’s Human Rights Department.   If you are too uncomfortable to report the sexual harassment yourself, the attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard can write a letter on your behalf.

    Reporting the sexual harassment is critical for several reasons. First, reporting the harassment to your employer puts your employer on notice of the offensive conduct and obligates the company to take steps to stop the harassment.  The company’s failure to take appropriate remedial action in the face of sexual harassment complaints will subject the company to additional liability.  Therefore, while reporting sexual harassment to your company’s Human Resource Department or a supervisor is often uncomfortable, if your employer does what they are supposed to, it should put an end to the harassment.

    The second reason why you should have a record of reporting the harassment to your employer, as well as a record of telling your harasser to stop the inappropriate conduct, is in case you decide to sue your harasser or the company at a later date.   Having a record that shows you told your harasser and your employer about the unwelcome, inappropriate conduct at or near the time the sexual harassment occurred can be crucial in proving a case for sexual harassment.

    If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace the attorneys at Bernstein Liebhard can help notify your employer of the harassment and advise you of the legal deadlines applicable to your case in the event you decide to pursue legal action.  Contact Stephanie M. Beige, Esq. at (888) 961-4002 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and your options.

    1. Keep a Record of the Harassing Conduct

    If you have been sexually harassed at work, it is very helpful if you have a record of each harassing incident. Having a written account of each harassing incident will be helpful in the event you decide to sue your employer for sexual harassment at a later date.  Your records should include, the date(s) the harassment occurred, where it took place, the time it took place, indicate whether there were any witnesses to the conduct, as well as note your reaction and your feelings after experiencing the harassing conduct.  If the harassment was in written or visual form, be sure to keep a copy of the materials (emails or notes) and take pictures if copies are not available for use at a later date.

    In addition to documenting the incidents of sexual harassment, be sure to keep a record of any action you took in response to the harassment (e.g., any complaints you made to Human Resources, your supervisor, or other employees), and document any actions taken by your employer or your harasser that negatively affected you following your complaints (e.g. negative performance evaluations, demotions or passed-over promotions, changes in shifts, etc.).

    1. Seek Professional Help to Cope Emotional Scars of Sexual Harassment

    Sexual harassment is damaging to victims in numerous ways.  Harassment often causes feelings of distress, embarrassment, shame, and guilt as victims frequently (unjustifiably) blame themselves for the harassment.  Such feels can often be debilitating and can affect the victim’s professional and personal lives.  Sometimes the emotional effects of sexual harassment warrant professional treatment either by a psychiatrist, a psychologist, or a therapist.  Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you have been sexually harassed at work and feel you need help to deal with the emotional scars of sexual harassment.

    1. Know Your Rights

    In order to assert a sexual harassment claim, the harassment you suffered must be sufficiently severe or pervasive to affect your employment and create a hostile and abusive work environment.  Sexual harassment generally falls into two distinct categories:  quid pro quo sexual harassment and hostile work environment sexual harassment.

    Quid pro quo sexual harassment occurs when submitting to unwelcome sexual conduct is a condition for employment decisions, such as requiring sexual favors in return for a promotion, a raise, or continued employment.  Sexual harassment also includes situations in which a victim is fired, demoted, or passed up for a promotion due to a victim’s rejection of sexual advances.

    Hostile work environment sexual harassment exists where an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with the victim’s ability to perform his or her job or similar conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile work environment.  Examples of such actions that may create a hostile work environment include:

    • Inappropriate materials
    • Offensive language (in person, emails, or texts)
    • Sexually suggestive innuendos
    • Sexually-oriented jokes
    • Sexual social media posts
    • Sexual gestures
    • Offensive remarks about the victim’s gender
    • Unwanted physical conduct

    Everyone has the right to a work environment that is free from sexual harassment.  Being able to identify sexual harassment in the workplace is the first step in stopping ongoing harassment and preventing harassment in the future.

    If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact Stephanie M. Beige, Esq. at (888) 961-4002 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and your options.

    1. Talk to a Sexual Harassment Attorney

    If you have been sexually harassed at work, it is important to speak with an attorney and learn your rights.  Different laws apply depending on where you work, how many employees work for your employer, and what exact type of harassment or discrimination you were subjected to.  There are also different deadlines for filing a lawsuit (if you chose to do so) depending on where you worked and the type of harassment or discrimination you suffered.  In some instances, complaints must first be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the EEOC) before you may sue in court.  For these reasons, and others, it is important that you speak with a sexual harassment lawyer early and learn your rights before it is too late to act.

    If you have been a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, contact Stephanie M. Beige, Esq. at (888) 961-4002 for a free, confidential consultation to discuss your rights and your options.