Sexual Misconduct

How to Recognize and Report Sexual Misconduct at Work

Various state and federal laws and workplace policies protect employees from sexual harassment. Nevertheless, sexual misconduct at work still happens. Rude jokes, inappropriate remarks, and solicitation of sexual favors can all be extremely distressing, especially if the perpetrator is in a senior position.

If someone is sexually harassing you at work, report the harassment to the appropriate persons in your company. It’s also helpful to consult an employee sexual harassment lawyer.

What Does the Law Define as Workplace Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment at work can range from blatant to subtle. You may experience workplace sexual harassment if someone you work with:

  • Makes repeated demeaning or suggestive comments of a sexual nature
  • Keeps asking you out even though you’ve refused multiple times
  • Tells rude sexual jokes that target your gender or sexual preferences
  • Touches you in an inappropriate manner
  • Requests or demands sexual acts in exchange for a promotion or other benefits

To be considered harassment, the behavior must be ongoing or serious enough to affect your job performance. A one-time casual joke or a commonplace isolated incident typically won’t fall under the definition of harassment.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct at Work

If you’re dealing with workplace sexual harassment, you should:

  1. Document the harassment. Take screenshots of any inappropriate messages and write down details of harassment incidents. 
  2. Protest against harassment. Explain to the harasser that their actions make you uncomfortable, and ask them to stop. Save any text or email exchanges that prove you’ve called out the harasser’s behavior.
  3. Report the harassment. If the situation persists, go to your employer, supervisor, or HR department and let them know of the harassment, preferably in writing. 
  4. Contact the EEOC. File a harassment charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
  5. Cooperate with the investigation. Be ready to provide any evidence, like text messages, screenshots, or witness statements, that your employer, your attorney, or the EEOC asks for as they look into your complaint.

What If Your Employer Doesn’t Do Enough to Stop Sexual Harassment?

Every employer should have clear protocols for preventing workplace sexual misconduct. Your employer should train all staff to avoid and fight sexual harassment at work. If harassment does happen, reporting it should be straightforward, and your employer must resolve the situation and ensure a safe workplace for everyone.

However, in some cases, the employer may ignore or downplay your harassment complaint. They may offer a solution that worsens your employment conditions (like moving you to a remote office) while the harasser walks away without penalty. Sometimes, employers even retaliate against employees who report harassment by firing them or taking away workplace benefits. 

If any of the above has happened to you, contact a workplace harassment lawyer and learn about your options. Apart from the legal consequences of workplace harassment for the perpetrator, like criminal charges, your employer may carry responsibility for not doing enough to stop the misconduct. Working with an experienced attorney will help prove you suffered sexual harassment at work and seek compensation.

The Cifarelli Law Firm: Protecting Employee Rights in Harassment Cases

Sexual misconduct at work can interfere with your job and cause severe emotional distress. If you experience any type of sexual harassment in the workplace, from demeaning comments to quid pro quo offers, contact us at The Cifarelli Law Firm. Our team knows all about handling sexual misconduct investigations, and we’ll provide the assertive legal support you need to fight for your rights. 

Call (949) 409 6324 for a free consultation with a workplace sexual harassment lawyer in Southern California.

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