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Work and sexual harassment: How should you handle it?

Sexual harassment remains a common workplace problem, despite the efforts being taken to eliminate it in Minnesota and elsewhere. According to Forbes, less than 30 percent of the women who reported in a survey that they had experienced sexual harassment at work actually did something about it. If you experience anything that you feel is considered sexual harassment, you do have recourse you can take.

You might feel afraid to take any action, because it is common for victims of sexual harassment to experience retaliation, such as being fired, for saying something. However, you are protected under the law from this type of action, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission works cases to fight for the rights of employees in this and other situations. In fact, you can report the sexual harassment directly to the EEOC by filing a report with the agency.

Although the EEOC is there to fight for you, you should first report it to your employer. Many companies have proper channels in place to follow, such as reporting it to a supervisor or someone in the human relations (HR) department. If you plan to take legal action, it is required to have some type of report in place so that your employer has a chance to fix things.

For a stronger case, it is always best to have some type of documented proof. This might include a written report of the harassment that also serves as your official report to the company. If there is any other evidence you might have, such as emails, cards, texts, social media posts or something else, be sure to print them or save them so that you have them for proof when the time comes.

You can also take notes that detail the time, place and form of harassment, including any comments. It is always a good idea to include a notation about any witnesses who might be called on in the future to back up your claim. Witnesses are not necessary for your case; however, they provide help when applicable. This information is only intended to educate and should not be interpreted as legal advice.

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