To prepare oneself for an encounter with sexual harassment, it is important to understand the definition of sexual harassment. “Sexual harassment” is defined as behavior that is unwelcome and involves a power differential between two parties. An individual who has a power imbalance may feel uncomfortable when harassed. For example, when a supervisor or manager holds the affection of one subordinate over another, sexual harassment occurs. If the subordinate believes that the supervisor’s interest in him or her is more than professional, it crosses the line into potential harassment.
An Austin sexual harassment attorney can help you understand your legal rights and defenses if you have experienced unwanted sexual advances by a supervisor or a co-worker. There is no legal duty to accept sexual advances, but it is important to understand your position in the workplace and what behaviors are legally prohibited.
Here are some steps you can take if you are being sexually harassed at your workplace.
Tell the harasser clearly that you are uncomfortable with the behavior
You can do this verbally or in writing. In most cases, the harasser will not continue the behavior after you have made your objection clear. However, if he/she does not stop, you may want to take steps to limit further contact with him/her.
Report the incident to a higher authority within your company
If the behavior is offensive or humiliates you to the point that it interferes with your work, this is a sign that you are being sexually harassed. And if the harassment continues even after you talk to the harasser about the problem, then you should report the incident to the Human Resources department or any other higher authority within your company.
Collect and document all evidence
If you decide to stop the harassment by documenting it, make sure to keep track of any inappropriate behavior or comments. You can also make copies of emails, text messages, and other documents related to the harassment. This will also help your sexual harassment attorney build a solid case if you decide to file a lawsuit later on.
Seek advice from a professional
A sexual harassment attorney can help you decide if a lawsuit will be the best option if sexual harassment continues. In some cases, your attorney may ask you to try and resolve the issue with your employer before filing a lawsuit. This may require you to undergo mediation with representatives from both parties.