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Take these 4 steps to handle sexual harassment at work

Sexual harassment is something no one should have to go through at work or elsewhere. It's not fair to you to worry about how you'll be treated based on how you look or your gender.

If sexual harassment is taking place in your workplace, there are some things that you can do. Here is some more information on how you can protect yourself and assert your rights moving forward.

1. Make the harassment known

In a lot of cases, the truth is that the offending party may not know that they're creating a hostile work environment. For example, someone who keeps making what they believe are jokes about your height or body could be coming across differently than they thought they were.

Your first step is to let that person know that they are being offensive. In many cases, this is all it takes to get the other person to quit bothering you. If not, then you've given them notice and should move on to the next step.

2. Talk to your employer

Most employers have a process for reporting sexual harassment. If yours does, refer to it as you go through the process of reporting the harassment. For example, if the policy states that you must report the case to the human resources advocate, then that's whom you should turn to.

Some companies won't have a procedure in place, and that's okay, too. In that case, take your complaint to a supervisor. If they're the one causing you problems, then go to their superior. If your harasser is the CEO or boss of the company, then you may want to reach out to your attorney instead, since there may be no one else for you to turn to within the workplace.

3. Keep strong documentation

It is important for you to keep documentation of every instance of harassment. Note the date, time, what was said and who was involved. If there were witnesses, write them down, too.

4. File an administrative charge

After going through the above steps, you can report the harassment to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other appropriate governmental agency. If your claim is determined to be valid, then you will be given a letter with the right to sue. Then, you can bring a civil lawsuit against those responsible for sexually harassing you.

Your attorney will work with you at that point to help you resolve the case.

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