Tips for Handling Workplace Sexual Harassment in Miami
Workplace sexual harassment can deal a crushing blow to your emotions and career. Read this to learn what steps you should take to protect yourself.
It’s an unfortunate reality that you may have to deal with sexual harassment in the workplace. Anyone can be the victim of unwanted treatment or advances on the job, or face inappropriate pressures before promotions, bonuses, raises, or assignments.
Sexual harassment at work — and your response to it — can have significant ramifications for your career. Knowing what to do is critical, both for your own prospects and protection and for remedying the harassment itself.
Before you take action, you should confirm a coworker’s or boss’s actions qualify as sexual harassment. In some cases, it will be obvious. Other situations may not be so simple.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission states sexual harassment includes: “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” However, there is a difference between one-off jokes and pervasive harassment. The conduct must be frequent and severe and lead to the development of an offensive or hostile employment situation.
Additionally, any decision by your employer that negatively impacts your career would be illegal if it were taken in retaliation for your response to harassment.
To protect yourself, it is vital that you follow internal human resources (HR) procedures at your workplace. As long as you work somewhere with more than 15 employees, these should be readily available in your employee handbook or on your internal company website. If they are not easily found or your company does not have established policies, you should consider immediately contacting an employment attorney.
Once you have located your employer’s harassment policies and reporting system, read the HR policy carefully. Typically, there will be instructions on who to first contact. It may be your direct supervisor, but you also usually have an HR contact if you would rather not report the harassment to your boss. Sometimes it is easier to remove them from the conversation, especially if your boss is the one who is harassing you.
Another critical component of your company’s HR policy is any timing information. Your company is only required to act if you report an incident within 180 days. Procedures may expand the timeline, but make sure you are aware of cut-off dates.
A formal complaint letter should always accompany or follow your report of sexual harassment. By filing a complaint according to your employer’s protocols, you create a paper trail of what you reported, to whom, and when.
Be sure to include straightforward, direct language. A title or subject line such as “Formal Sexual Harassment Complaint" is advisable. Include details as if you were investigating a case, focusing on the who, what, where, and when. If you believe the harassment led to an adverse employment action against you, call it out openly.
Once you have taken the necessary steps to report sexual harassment, your company should begin an inquiry. If you are not updated on what the company is doing or what actions were taken, you can reach out to your HR contact. You have the right to know how the business is addressing your complaint.
If your company does not take any meaningful action or seems to sweep away an investigation, you need to consider legal action.
Employment law offers you strong protection from workplace sexual harassment. An experienced legal team can help you at every stage of the complaint process. At Georges-Pierre & Hoogerwoerd, PLLC, protecting our clients is our primary focus.
If you are fighting workplace sexual harassment in Florida, schedule a free consultation with Remer, Georges-Pierre & Hoogerwoerd, PLLC at 305-416-5000. Our dedicated Miami employment lawyers can evaluate your case and assist you with the HR process. If you have had a complaint ignored, denied, or otherwise disregarded, we can consider legal measures to best uphold your rights and fight for what you deserve.
Please call for a free consultation at 305-416-5000 or go to rgpattorneys.com.