What should I do if I was sexually harassed?

If you were sexually harassed at work, the first step is to communicate to the harasser that their behavior is unwelcome, and ask them to stop. If the behavior continues, you should bring your complaint to your immediate supervisor. If your company has a detailed procedure for filing sexual harassment claims, you should follow it, taking note of any time limits set by the policy. It is important for your company’s management to be aware of the harassment so that they can begin a prompt impartial investigation of the complaint.

Keep a written account of the harassment incidents that include details such as dates, names of those involved and what was said or done. Also, be sure to keep any records of the sexual harassment, such as emails, text messages or letters you may have received. If there are any witnesses of the harassment, it may be helpful to obtain written accounts of what they saw.

If you are unable to resolve the complaint promptly through your employer and you wish to pursue the matter, then you can file an administrative claim with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The agency will issue you a right to sue letter which permits you to bring your case to court.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment, talk to a qualified employment law attorney to help you determine your rights and how to proceed with your claim.

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