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How do I Report Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment occurs when a colleague at work acts toward you in a way that is sexual in nature and not welcome. Experts consider it a form of discrimination. It is unwelcome in the workplace and is illegal in most jurisdictions. Sexual harassment can take the form of something said, something seen, or something done to you physically. Whatever form it takes, make it known to the perpetrator that it is not welcome, record what happened, and then report the sexual harassment to your supervisor or the appropriate government officials.

The first step when dealing with sexual harassment is to make it clear to the person doing it that you do not like it. Be firm when letting the person know that you are offended by their behavior and that you want it to stop. If the person does not stop, experts recommend putting your request in writing and giving it to the harasser.

During this period, also keep track of when, where, and how the person harasses you. Ask witnesses to record what they see and whether or not they’ve seen this person harass other people. Keep these records somewhere safe, such as a safe deposit box or at home.

If the harassment still doesn’t stop, report the sexual harassment to your employer. Your employer most likely has a policy to report sexual harassment cases. Such policies can be found in the employee manual. Follow the policy and report sexual harassment to the appropriate first contact, such as your supervisor or someone in the human resources department. Report the incidents in letter form and place a copy in your records.

If you want to file a lawsuit against the perpetrator or against your employer, in most jurisdictions, you will first need to report sexual harassment to the appropriate government agency. In the United States, for example, you would need to file a sexual harassment complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You might also need to file with the local or state employment agency. Different jurisdictions have deadlines for reporting, giving you a certain period of time after an incident to report sexual harassment. After you file a report with the government, you can then pursue a lawsuit to recover monetary damages or a lost job or to force your employer to change its sexual harassment policies.

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