Experiencing sexual harassment in your Albuquerque workplace can be terrifying and demoralizing. Whether you are the target of inappropriate comments or actions from a supervisor, colleague, customer or more, you may feel flustered and unsure of how to move forward from here.
Reporting sexual harassment can be confusing. In your shock, anger, embarrassment or more following the incident, you may either attempt to cover up what happened or act without fully considering your options. Whether the harassment was a one-time incident or has turned into a pattern of offensive behavior, consider the following options to take action:
Talk directly with the harasser
For some, this may be unrealistic or uncomfortable. However, if possible, talk with the harasser and ask them to stop. By appealing to them personally, you could potentially explain why their actions are inappropriate and avoid taking further action.
Review your company’s policy
Whether you feel uncomfortable appealing directly to the harasser or your discussion went ignored, your next step should be to consult with your company’s employee handbook. Employer policies on reporting sexual harassment in the workplace vary from company to company. In some cases, your New Mexico employer may have a comprehensive, formal policy that gives you the option of talking with a supervisor or filing a complaint.
In other cases, your company may not have a set policy in place for addressing complaints. In this case, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recommends talking with a supervisor at your company to detail the harassment. If you have experienced a pattern of harassment, documenting details of the offensive behavior can assist in supporting your account of the encounters.
File a complaint with the EEOC
When your complaint to your employer goes ignored or falls flat, you may file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Generally, you must file your charge within 180 days of the incident. You can also contact the EEOC to confidentially discuss your situation.
Remember: You are protected from retaliation
Studies show that women often fear reporting sexual harassment out of fear of being a target or jeopardizing their career growth. However, remember that you have the right to report sexual harassment without fearing retaliation in the form of termination, demotion, continued harassment and more. If you do experience such retaliation, consider seeking legal help to determine your options.