When you show up to work there is an expectation that you will be able to perform the duties of your job in a safe environment, devoid of harassment or violence of any kind. If there is an issue, it should be reported and it is up to your employer to ensure that it is handled. But what if that doesn’t happen? You need to take action to protect yourself.
If you have reported an incident of sexual harassment to your employer and nothing has happened, then you can file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Keep in mind that there are very strict time limits when it comes to filing a claim, and you need to have as much evidence as possible to support your case.
The EEOC can also protect you from incidents of retaliation in the workplace if your employer tries to punish you for reporting an incident of harassment.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The EEOC is a federal agency created under the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect workers from discrimination in the workplace. When you file a claim with the EEOC, you are signing a document that states that an incident of harassment has occurred. From there, investigators will work to determine the facts of the case while protecting you from further harm.
In sexual harassment cases you must file your claim within 180 to 300 days of the last incident. Filing a claim triggers an investigation, and a claim must be filed with the EEOC if you intend to file a private lawsuit against your employer.
If you have filed a complaint about sexual harassment against your employer, it is illegal for your employer to retaliate against you. Retaliation can include cutting your hours, changing your schedule, denying requests for vacation or time off, passing you over for consideration for a promotion or denying you a pay raise, among other things.
Retaliation often takes place as a way to punish an employee for filing a report of harassment, and it’s used as a means of intimidation to prevent you from moving forward with your claim. Retaliation is illegal and you can include this in your claim with the EEOC and your private lawsuit.
The most important aspect of your claim and in filing a private lawsuit is gathering evidence to support the harassment and the instances of retaliation. If there are witnesses, gather their statements.
If there is security footage, get copies. If you have any emails of documents that support the claim, print them out and submit them. (You should print out any emails or work documents immediately because if they are on a company server they could be deleted)
The more evidence you gather, the stronger your claim will be. If you need help or are unsure of what evidence you can access, you might need to consult an attorney to help you with your case.
Get Help Today
You should not suffer in silence if you filed a complaint of sexual harassment and your employer didn’t do anything to change the situation. Not only are you still dealing with the effects of the harassment but now you may be dealing with backlash from your employer, including retaliation. It’s stressful enough dealing with the situation in your workplace, so the last thing you need is to face a claim with the EEOC by yourself.
An employment attorney can help guide you through the next steps ahead of you. You must file a charge with the EEOC in order to file a private lawsuit against your employer, and an employment attorney can help make sure you have gathered the proper evidence and have all of your documentation and paperwork submitted in a timely fashion.
And when it comes time to file a private lawsuit, your attorney will be ready to move forward with your case. If nothing else, consulting with an employment attorney will help you to determine what your next steps will be. Some lawyers have no cost up front, as your attorney’s fees will be covered if you win your case. Others do require payments at the start, so discuss payments with your lawyer right away.
While working with an employment attorney doesn’t guarantee that you will win your case, it may greatly improve your chances for a favorable outcome. That’s why the initial consultation is important, as it’s an opportunity to discuss your case and determine the path that makes the most sense for you.
To learn more about how an employment attorney can help with your claim, fill out a Free Case Evaluation.