Making a Proper Report for Sexual Harassment at Work

We hear at the Law Office of Jim Zadeh have represented victims of sexual harassment for over 15 years, and one of the questions that we're often asked is who should I tell, or did I mess up by telling somebody I shouldn't have.  If you feel like you have been sexually harassed at the workplace, then the first thing you need to do is go to the policy of your employer and see who they say you should call.  Typically, it’s the human resource department and sometimes they will have a 1-800 hotline to file a complaint, but there's always somewhere you can go to report your complaint.  The question that people ask is when they have told a coworker and they told him or her about what was happening, and they want to know if that is enough.  The answer is typically no it's not enough, it needs to be someone in management.  It needs to be someone who is in charge like a supervisor, someone who is listed in HR as the contact, or if available call the 1-800 hotline, that is who you should notify.  You must notify the right person and let them know that you have been sexually harassed in order for the company to have the opportunity to go ahead and respond by doing the right thing. often times when you report sexual harassment it may not be the first time that the harasser has had a report against them and it may result in discipline.  If you report it properly the company may do the right thing, but it's not a proper report to tell your coworker, it's not a proper report to talk about it to a vendor, it's not a proper report to talk about it to a customer.  You need to follow the policies of the company and report it to the people within the policies and that’s how you make a proper report.

Jim M. Zadeh
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Attorney at Law