Did you know that according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) more than 6,500 sexual harassment claims were filed in 2020 alone? This is not including all of the ones that go unnoticed or do not get reported for fear of losing their job or being believed. Sexual harassment happens for all genders, races, ages, and is never discriminatory. If you believe you or someone you know has been sexually harassed in the workplace, you need to report it. Here are some things to do if you witness sexual harassment at your job.
Say Something Immediately
If your office has an HR Department, file a complaint immediately with them. Tell them what you saw, what you heard, and who it was. Just because they are higher up in the company should not sway your decision making on telling HR. You can send an anonymous email, note, or voicemail. There are numerous ways to make it happen without making yourself personally involved if you are not comfortable.
Talk to the Person Affected
When the perpetrator is gone, make yourself or someone available to talk to the person affected. However, it’s not advised to interfere by yourself. If you see a need for immediate intervention, call for security or the police. You can save someone’s life by being an advocate when they are not able to do so.
Know Your Rights
You can always refer to your employee handbook or to the EEOC like I have mentioned before. You can find an abundance of information online and hotlines to reach out to as well. This information should also be readily available at your work. If it isn’t, please address it to your superiors so employees have access to the information. Ever since the #metoo movement, there has been a huge change when it comes to talking about sexual
harassment, assault, and rape. Employees need to know that they are in a safe environment and if there was anything to happen, it would be resolved. You can also refer to this information packet by National Partnership for Women and Families here for any additional concerns about what you can do during any sort of situations regarding sexual harassment. Remember to speak up and be an advocate.