Confronting Your Employer About Sexual Harassment

If you have suffered unwanted sexual advances in the workplace, you might assume that quitting is the only way to stop the harassment. Or you might want to take steps to confront your employer about the harassment, but not know how to go about doing so. Rest assured, there are things that you can do to confront your employer. Before getting to solutions though, the first step is to define sexual harassment.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:

  • unwanted sexual advances;
  • requiring sexual favors in exchange for employment benefits;
  • retaliation;
  • suggestive sexual conduct, including: leering, gestures, or displaying sexual content;
  • derogatory or suggestive humor;
  • suggestive or sexual comments, whether spoken or written;
  • physical touching or impeding movement.
This list is not exhaustive—other unwanted sexual advances, suggestive conduct, or derogatory behavior not listed here, might also qualify as sexual harassment. And it does not matter if your harasser is the same gender as you; an employee can harass an employee of the same gender.

Confronting your Employer

If you have experienced sexual harassment at work, you have recourse. You can confront the harasser directly. An attorney can help you find the best way to phrase the confrontation. But if you are not comfortable confronting your harasser, you still have options.

  1. First, make a written document, objecting to the harassment. This written objection should be:
    1. detailed (when discussing the harassment, specify who, what, where, when, and how);
    2. timely (a time-stamped email works very well); and,
    3. even-keeled (even as you describe the abuse and its impact on you, refrain from name calling or profane slander);
  2. Second, follow-up with the HR department and ask them to investigate your claims;
  3. Third, if you are fired, do not agree to severance or other settlements. Your employer may try to convince you that you have to accept certain terms, before receiving your final paycheck. But this might be a ruse, designed to preclude you from taking later action against against your employer. You do not need to agree to any settlements to receive your final paycheck.

It is worth noting that your employee may not retaliate or threaten to retaliate against you for reporting sexual harassment. So, if you are fired for reporting sexual harassment, then you may have claims for not only the underlying harassment, but also the retaliation.

Contact A California Employment Attorney

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace, then you are not without recourse, but it can be extremely challenging to navigate the path forward without a skilled attorney. The knowledgeable and compassionate employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Los Angeles, and Riverside will stand up for you as you confront the harassment. Call today for a free case consultation at 714-937-2020.