If you have been the victim of sexual harassment in the workplace, you will want to file a claim. You will need to report the situation to your employer and file a complaint with the proper agencies. When you are ready to file your complaint, you will want to send a letter to human resources at your employer to let them know what happened, how it happened and when it happened.
Always report sexual harassment in a timely manner. You should review your company’s policy on sexual harassment and follow any instructions that are included in the handbook or guide. Proper protocol must be followed for your complaint to be officially filed and accepted. It is better to have written a complaint letter rather than file your complaint in a face-to-face conversation. That way, you have proof of what is said and what was done.
When you send your complaint by email, remember that your subject line is important. The subject line should say Official Complaint of Sexual Harassment. This helps alleviate the chances of someone saying that they didn’t realize you were a victim of sexual harassment. When you include those words early on, they cannot legally ignore your complaint. The letter should be sent to your boss as well as the human resources manager – if there is one.
In the body of the email or letter, you will want to detail the situation. Start off by saying, “I am writing to notify you that (the employee’s name) has been sexually harassing me. Here are the events that occurred” then you will want to itemize a list of situations and events involving sexual harassment in the workplace.
The email or letter should mention every incident and the victim’s actions or response, such as you asked the manager to “stop saying that” or to “knock it off.” You should also include a list of any possible witnesses to the situation, as they will be talked with regarding what was heard and seen during these episodes.
Here are some example scenarios:
As an example, about a month ago John leaned over your shoulder and kept rubbing your back and pressing up closer to you. You asked him to please “give you your space” and he backed off, but in a few minutes, he resumed with the same behavior.
A week ago, John then rubbed against you when you passed in the hallway although there was plenty of room to pass one another. You asked him to step aside and he smirked and responded, “whatever, baby.”
You were walking past John’s desk and he had images of naked women displayed on his monitor. He then made a remark to you that he had something to show you. You told him you didn’t want to see those kinds of photos and he laughed at you.
What To Include In Your Letter Or Email
To break it down, here is what you must include:
- The subject line
- The address
- The body of email – make everything clear with no sugarcoating, include the date, time, and location of the incident, and be sure to mention any witnesses
- The conclusion – keep your final words professional, thank them for looking into the matter and addressing the situation for you
Subject: Official Complaint of Sexual Harassment
Dear Mr. Jones,
I am writing to inform you that my immediate supervisor, Joseph Adams, has been sexually harassing me while I am trying to perform my work duties here at Johnson Publishing. The harassment started about two months ago. Mr. Adams came up behind me at my desk, started rubbing my shoulders, and told me that if I would start spending more time with him then I could advance into another position quickly. I told him I wasn’t interested, and he responded, “not yet.” Another employee, Sarah Atkins, was seated two desks away and looked toward me and shook her head, so I am sure she overheard the conversation.
About a month ago, Mr. Adams approached me near the copy machine and asked me if I had changed my mind. I asked what he was referring to, and he said, “Do you still want that promotion? If you do, then you can earn some bonus points by spending some time with me after work.” I once again responded that I wasn’t interested and told him he was making me feel uncomfortable.
Two days ago, on Wednesday of this week, Mr. Adams told me that if I couldn’t agree to spend more time with him after work, I will not move up in the company. He also said that I will most likely be transferred into another department. Rebekah Jefferson overhead the discussion and later told me that Mr. Adams always gets his way so I should probably reconsider.
This kind of behavior is unacceptable, and I am sure that Johnson Publishing does not condone this activity. I ask you to properly investigate this matter and put an end to this inappropriate treatment.
How An Employment Lawyer Can Help
If you have been sexually harassed by a manager or supervisor at your job, you should enlist the help of an employment lawyer who is licensed in your state. With the help of an attorney, you are much more likely to have a successful claim against your employer for the inappropriate behavior of your boss. While some employment lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they will not be paid until you win your claim. However, some employment law attorneys charge an hourly fee. You should check with your lawyer to determine how they charge and the process that they use when you retain their services.
To make sure your sexual harassment complaint is filed in a timely manner, you should speak with an employment law attorney as quickly as possible. Complete the Free Case Evaluation Form on this page to have the details of your case shared with a lawyer in your area. An attorney will review the details and determine the best way to proceed with your claim.