How to Handle Sexual Harassment if it Happens to You 

sexual harassment attorneys near me

Sexual harassment has an unfortunate history in American social interactions at work, at home, and in public. Countless numbers of sexual harassment victims have been made to feel unsafe, threatened, or in danger of abuse. Sadly, only recently has our society woken up to the severity and damage of the sexual harassment problem. Sexual harassment can happen anywhere. Even during the pandemic when a work-from-home schedule was normalized, sexual harassment remained prevalent. Even though the issue itself is clear, many are still unsure how to handle sexual harassment when it happens to them. A recent study found that nearly 40 percent of woman experience sexual harassment, but less than a quarter report it. There is no clear way to resolve sexual harassment, but there is a way to make the most informed decision possible.  

What Constitutes Sexual Harassment? 

To make the best-informed decision on how to handle sexual harassment in your unique position, you must understand how it works. There are several primary grounds for sexual harassment under California and federal law, including: 

  • Quid pro quo harassment, in which another person requests sexual or romantic favors from an individual in exchange for a benefit, such as a promotion or raise  
  • Any unwanted sexual advances, including touching, kissing, groping, and attempts to do so 
  • A hostile environment, where an individual feels unsafe or uncomfortable due to harassing activity or statements 

Furthermore, actions that can constitute sexual harassment include: 

  • Physical and verbal sexual advances 
  • Unwanted touching and requests for touching. 
  • Sexual gestures and leering directed at an individual. 
  • Derogatory and/or offensive jokes and comments 
  • Threats and retaliation in response to complaints and refusals 
  • Display of obscene or sexual materials 
  • Inappropriate photos, videos, or .gifs displayed in a work messaging platform. 
  • Comments focused on an employee’s appearance while on a video call. 

It is worth noting these statements, actions, gestures, and offers do not have to be necessarily romantic or sexual in nature. Harassing behavior can also encompass comments, jokes, or other activities aimed at pregnancy, stereotypes regarding specific genders, and gender identity. The person reporting sexual harassment and impacted by the environment it creates also does not need to be the recipient of the actions. Managers, coworkers, and bystanders can also be victimized by sexual harassment if they witness it, even if they aren’t the one being harassed. 

How to Handle Sexual Harassment 

Even though there is no clear way to handle every instance of sexual harassment, you can take certain steps immediately to protect yourself. First, as soon as you experience sexual harassment, it is important that you document everything. You will need details such as the date, time, and location of the harassment. Keeping track of what was said and who witnessed the behavior will also help. Next, tell a trusted friend for family member about what happened and write down the details of the conversations. These will provide support and provide corroborating statements should they be needed. If you experience sexual harassment in the workplace, follow the steps above and read everything you can about your companies polices.  

If you are hesitant to make a claim due to worries for your role at work, consulting legal help will be your best move. This can prevent workplace retaliation once the sexual harassment claim is made. 

Compassionate National Sexual Harassment Attorneys 

With decades of experience in bringing successful lawsuits against massive corporations, the attorneys of McCune Law Group know what it takes to win. We also understand the fear and confusion that comes from being in an abusive environment. We stand ready to provide a safe, confidential forum in which we will take your concerns about sexual harassment seriously. Our team will provide you with an honest assessment about what strategies we can pursue on your behalf.  

Contact us today by calling (909) 345-8110 or by completing the form to talk to a team member regarding your situation.

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