Taking the necessary steps to report sexual harassment is a bold move in today’s society. Many workers are reluctant to do so for fear of losing their jobs or positions. Still others are so ill-informed on the nature of sexual harassment that they aren’t even aware they qualify for legal remedies. Even worse is when a worker finally gathers the courage to report sexual harassment only to have the issue ignored or denied.
Employer responses can vary when sexual harassment is finally brought out in the open, but an an employer’s dismissive attitude or even outright denial is unfortunately common. Such a response can leave employees feeling that there is no real recourse for the harm they’ve suffered, but this could not be further from the truth.
Legal remedies are available even if an employer dismisses sexual harassment complaints as unimportant or not worth investigating. It’s important for employees to take the bold step of reporting such incidents, following all company protocol for following through with the complaint.
Here’s a short list of a few other steps to take when an employer denies your sexual harassment claim.
Be patient and diligent.
An employer’s disagreeable actions concerning your accusations of sexual harassment can be unnerving, but the key is to remain calm, cool and collected knowing you’re determined to see your allegations all the way through. This determination can make or break your case in the face of company adversity. If the employer is denying your claims, there is likely a lackadaisical attitude regarding sex discrimination in the workplace which may at first be rather difficult to fight.
However, with the help of a qualified employment discrimination attorney well-versed in sexual harassment law, your decision to remain patient and diligent can pay off even in the face of an employer’s dismissive behavior. Take the time to locate an experienced attorney who has extensive knowledge of both state and federal sexual harassment laws and legal remedies. Doing so can give you the vital support you need throughout the charge filing and litigation process.
Make it clear that any sexual advances were unwanted.
The courts have helped shape and define the exact definition of sexual harassment, including what does not constitute sexual harassment. One important defining aspect of any sexual harassment claim is that sexual advances are inappropriate because they were unwanted.
This distinction applies even if an employee consents or acquiesces to sexual advances in the workplace. In many sexual harassment claims, an employer inappropriately uses his or her position of authority to intimidate and coerce a worker into compliance with requests for sexual favors or other inappropriate behavior, as is the case with quid pro quo sex discrimination. Such cases highlight emphasis on the fact that the sexual advances are unwanted even though consent is given.
Go through the proper channels.
Showing that you have filed a claim of sexual harassment while going through the appropriate channels and procedures required by your company can be a huge asset in sexual harassment cases. Though it is not always specifically required to prove an allegation of seuxal harassment, some courts have looked favorably in cases where an employee was careful to consider the proper steps as outlined in HR rules or employee handbooks.
Following the appropriate steps may also make a difference in situations where an employer has ignored or denied your sexual harassment claim. An employer’s response is crucial to his or defense and if the response does not measure up to all that is required by law, there is a good chance an employee’s claim will be successful in court. Following the rules and going through the appropriate channels when alleging sexual harassment can ensure that that the employer’s response is on record and subject to review.
Keep a record of the details.
When an employer ignores or denies your sexual harassment claim, keeping a record of the details is crucial. Should there be a dispute about the unfolding of events later down the line, having your own officially documented version of the story will ensure that your claims is not overshadowed by the company’s version.
Once the record is documented, it’s important to identify those within the company in charge of handling such claims with confidentiality, and to provide these individuals with documentation of your claims and allegations. This ensures that a day-to-day track record is established which demonstrates that you have taken all necessary steps, the exact nature of those steps as well as when these actions were taken. All of this could prove to be essential should your case go to trial.
Rely on and trust an experience sex discrimination attorney.
One action is very clearly indicated when a sexual harassment issue arises in the workplace: you’ll need an experienced attorney. As early in the process as possible, getting the help of a well-qualified attorney can be the smartest step to take, especially if the employer is denying or ignoring your allegations.
Having an experienced sex discrimination attorney by your side through the grievance process and even the EEOC charge filing process is essential. It decreases the risks of costly mistakes and can put pressure on the company to comply with state and federal law or risk the litigatory consequences. Sometimes, getting an attorney is all that is needed to persuade your employer to recognize your claims of sexual harassment and begin to take them seriously.
Getting an attorney may also decrease the risk of employer retaliation. Most employment discrimination laws prohibit retaliation from employers based on the filing of a discrimination claim or grievance or an employee’s participation in discrimination court proceedings. An employer may think twice about retaliating against against a worker who has filed a sexual harassment claim when an attorney is involved.
Taking Steps when An Employer Ignores or Denies Your Sexual Harassment Claim
When an employee files a sexual harassment claim, it can truly bring out the worst in some employers. The response behavior can range from not responding at all, conducting a half-hearted investigation or flat-out denying the allegations and refusing to recognize them.
Though such situations can be extremely frustrating for victims of workplace sexual harassment, it’s important to know the right steps to take before giving up. Most importantly, contact an experienced sexual harassment attorney to help navigate the process, and get the justice you deserve.