If you have a co-worker who you can see is being a target of sexual harassment, it is quite legal for you to report a sexual assault case on that person’s behalf. However, disclosing such a sexual assault without the victim’s consent can be traumatizing for the survivor. Unless the sexual harassment is likely to be life-threatening, it is wise to discuss what you have seen or been told with the victim before filing a report of sexual harassment on their behalf. You can inform them that sexual harassment at work is illegal especially if it creates a hostile working environment.
What to do Before Reporting Sexual Harassment at Work
If your friend, child, or loved one has been sexually assaulted at work, it can be helpful to provide them with options. Because sexual assault can be traumatic and devastating for survivors, it is important to ask the survivor whether or not they’d like to explore litigation. Generally, you can report a concern to the police on someone else’s behalf. However, the police are likely to immediately contact the victim for corroboration. The first step you could suggest to the victim is to report the sexual harassment to his or her employer with evidence to show a sexual assault has taken place. The proof could include reports from eyewitnesses and evidence on CCTV cameras in the workplace. If the sexual harassment was made verbally or was text-based, the victim would need to provide appropriate evidence to prove it.
Next Steps to Take After Sexual Harassment at Work
After the sexual harassment has been reported to the employer’s HR, if nothing is done to remedy the issue, or if retaliation by the employer is likely to take place, filing a complaint with the EEOC should be the next step. To be eligible to file a complaint with the EEOC the employer needs to have 15 or more employees. 180 days from the sexual harassment is given to file a charge if the victim is not a federal employee and 45 days if they are. The victim is expected to contact an EEOC counselor.
The EEOC considers all factors when looking into allegations of sexual harassment. This pertains to the setting in which the alleged episodes occurred, the circumstances of the alleged sexual harassment, and the nature of the alleged sexual advances. Often the EEOC will contact the employer and request that the sexual harassment should be stopped. If nothing is done and the sexual harassment continues the victim has the right to take legal action and file a lawsuit for compensation for being the victim of sexual harassment which under federal law is illegal.
It is never easy to confront sexual harassment in the workplace, but there is help available to assist victims to win compensation for sexual harassment if their employer won’t do anything about it.