In many cases, touching someone in a workplace can result in a situation called harassment. While these behaviors are against work ethics, they are also considered inappropriate because they can be demeaning, humiliating and offensive to the recipient. If you’ve been a victim of unwelcome touching and sexual harassment in your place of work, here’s what you need to know and do from the beginning.
How Do Unwelcome Touching and Sexual Harassment Happen?
Sexual harassment includes sexual advances that have the effect of interfering with an employee’s work performance or job safety. This unwelcome sexual behavior can be a serious problem that can be experienced by both men and women.
While there are state and local laws that protect employees from being sexually harassed, it’s still beneficial that you know some forms of unwelcome physical contact so that you’ll be able to defend yourself from the abuser.
Unwanted touching can include:
- Hair ruffling
- Hip bumping
- Holding someone’s hand
- Linking arms
- Putting an arm on someone’s shoulder
If someone constantly violates your personal space by making unwanted physical contact with you, ask them to stop immediately. Remember, the acts may not be malicious at all, and once the offender realizes the touch is unwelcome, they may not do it again.
What Should You Do Legally If You’ve Been Sexually Harassed?
There are ways to stop unwanted touching and sexual harassment. If you’ve personally experienced this kind of inappropriate behavior, the first move to put an end to it should start with you. But if it doesn’t work, it may be about time that you fight for your rights and escalate the matter to proper authorities. Here’s what should you legally:
1. Inform your human resources officer and the supervisors
If there’s no decrease of harassment after your appeal, it’s essential that you bring the matter to the designated human resource officer and supervisors. However, make sure to observe company rules and procedures when it comes to sexual harassment. If you fail to get a response from the management, escalate the matter to higher management or your employer.
2. Complain to the company and document everything.
Documenting all that happened is part of following the company protocols because if you fail to do so, you’ll have a difficult time winning your case in court. Considering these situations, register a complaint within your company and let them know about the harassment, document everything, and preserve backup files with you in a private place.
3. Talk to an experienced lawyer.
If you think your employer is retaliating against you because you’ve filed a complaint about sexual harassment, the essential thing to do is speak with an experienced attorney like the ones here, who can help you take the appropriate legal remedy for your situation.
4. File a harassment lawsuit claim.
Once you’ve talked to your attorney and everything is prepared accordingly, consider the option of filing a harassment claim in court. By doing so, you’ll be able to recover compensation for the emotional injuries you’ve suffered because of the harassment and other unwelcome sexual conduct.
Sexual harassment can happen to anyone, especially in the context of employment. While there’s much that you can do to stop the problem, the law provides formal steps such as filing a lawsuit against the offending parties. During these trying times, it’s best to understand your state laws and make sure that your legal rights are safeguarded.
Casey is a law student hoping to one day make it big as a lawyer in New York. She currently works hard writing law articles to help those understand legal topics better. When she’s not studying, she’s out with her friends.