What to Expect After Reporting Harassment in the Workplace
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Jeffrey Phillips with Phillips Law Group.
Workplace harassment can occur for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to race, color, religion, sex, nation of origin, age, and disability. If you are suffering from harassment at work, there are steps you can take to report and address the issue. If the employer is unable to stop and correct the harassment, reach out to a workplace harassment attorney to learn more about your legal options. Even if you did not suffer a financial loss due to the harassment, you may be eligible to receive compensation for the harassment you suffered, as well as holding the harasser accountable.
The first thing to do if you are suffering from harassment in the workplace is to inform your supervisor and Human Resources (HR) department.
If your company does not have an HR department, inform your employer of the harassment that has been taking place in addition to your immediate supervisor. If you have evidence of the harassment such as harassing messages, notes, or recordings, it’s a good idea to keep these in a safe place where they cannot be lost or deleted in case you need to prove the harassment.
In many cases, reporting the harassment to a supervisor/HR department is enough to correct the problem. Under Title VII, employers are legally required to take action following reports of harassment. However, if you find that the harassment continues or worsens after reporting it, you may be eligible to take legal action to force correction.
Title VII is a federal civil rights law prohibiting harassment in the workplace.
Under Title VII, employers are legally required to take action after being informed of harassment occurring in the workplace. Additionally, this law makes it illegal for an employer to fire or otherwise retaliate against someone for reporting the harassment in the workplace.
If you have been terminated or otherwise retaliated against for reporting harassment in the workplace, contact an attorney right away. Examples of retaliation include firing, demoting, having hours cut, pay cut, being asked to take a leave of absence, or any other undesirable change to your job made in response to your report. Similarly, if your employer does not take action to correct and prevent further harassment, they could be considered liable; in this situation, it is important to seek legal counsel from a workplace harassment attorney as soon as possible.
If your employer fails to correct the reported harassment, you may be eligible to file charges.
Every state has an employment practices agency or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) with which an employee being harassed at work can choose to file charges. If your situation warrants a lawsuit, you will receive a “right-to-sue” notice from the agency you filed the charges with and can proceed from there. It is important in these instances to make sure you have a chain of evidence which shows discriminatory or harassing behavior or a period of time, rather than only one instance. If a lawyer can prove that there is a pattern of harassment, the chances of a successful lawsuit increase significantly. To learn more about workplace harassment or for help filing a workplace harassment lawsuit, reach out to a workplace harassment attorney.