Despite the many state and federal laws that bar sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment is still a major problem. Every year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), investigates thousands of sexual harassment claims. In fact, in 2016 this federal agency investigated nearly 13,000 sexual harassment cases.
While every employer should be vigilant about protecting the rights of its employees, the fact is that some businesses simply do not treat sexual harassment as seriously as they should. As a result, employees may be forced to endure a hostile working environment. Here are some warning signs that your employer is not serious about preventing sexual harassment.
- Does your employer have a written policy on harassment and discrimination? Simply put, businesses should have a written plan in place in order to set appropriate expectations for managers and employees. If an employer does not have a policy in place, it could be viewed as evidence that the employer is not fully committed to creating a working environment free of sexual harassment.
- Is this policy posted in a place where people will see it? An employer should place its harassment and discrimination policies in an employee handbook or even in the workplace not available to the public, such as the break room.
- Does your employer have mandatory training on sexual harassment and discrimination? Training will reinforce the written policies and help managers and employees understand what to do if they witness sexual harassment and need to report it.
While harassment can occur in any line of work, there are industries where harassment may be more prevalent. According to AWARE, a women's advocacy group, sales and marketing, the hospitality industry, banking and finance and civil service are industries with higher levels of sexual harassment.
What you should do if you face sexual harassment at work
If you are facing harassment, it is important to document this harassment to the greatest extent possible. For instance, if a supervisor, manager or co-worker has sent you text messages, emails or other electronic communications that show proof of harassment, it is important to save them. It is also important to report this sexual harassment to a supervisor.
If you are facing sexual harassment at work, the steps you take now will make a major difference in your case. Your employment lawyer will go a long way toward protecting your rights and seeking all available compensation. The attorneys of Thatcher Law Firm have provided skilled, intelligent representation to employees across Maryland, Washington D.C., and beyond.