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A few pointers if you are sexually harassed

Sexual harassment, and harassment in general, are rampant in workplaces across the U.S. Despite efforts to educate about the acts’ illegality and numerous cases tried and won by the EEOC, media reports reveal that sexual harassment is still a depressing reality. Consider recent high-profile lawsuits such as those against Zillow, GitHub and Yahoo’s Maria Zhang, or the incendiary lawsuit developing over the firing of Dov Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel.

Are you being sexually harassed in the workplace? Being harassed by intimidation or bullying? No matter how the harassment is transpiring, it is illegal. Speak to an experienced employment attorney to find out what you need to do to deal with the situation. You have rights. Protect yourself.

It does not matter how old or young you are, anyone may be the unwilling victim of sexual harassment. Do not let the matter slide, even given how uncomfortable you are about it happening. Speak up and create a record of having spoken to those in a position to assist you at work. Tell the harasser his or her actions and behavior bother you, that you are not willing to put up with it and that it constitutes harassment.

Keep a detailed record of every incident that transpires, what you did and said, who you spoke to, what they said, how many times unsettling advances were made, whether the person backed down or escalated their behavior, what the human resources department said, if there was an investigation and so forth. Make sure your journal is detailed. You will want to show it to an attorney.

Are you working in a toxic environment where harassment is part of the work culture because management chooses to look the other way or not enforce any policies they may have on the books? Have you advocated for yourself, only to have your cries for help fall on deaf ears? Is the boss the harasser? Keep notes on this as well.

If you continue to bring the matter up and no one responds appropriately, or you are fired, it’s time to retain legal counsel. At any time during the process of journaling what is happening in the workplace, you may seek advice from a competent employment attorney. The first hour with the lawyer is usually free.

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