If you have suffered from harassment in the workplace, it is important to follow the proper procedures to protect your rights and your ability to make a legal claim, if necessary.
Here’s an overview of the steps you should take to help you prove your case and give you the right to file a lawsuit.
Speak to the offender
The first step should always be to confront the offender. It might sound bizarre, but there is a possibility they do not know their behavior is causing you discomfort or offense. Practically this is the best way to bring the behavior to an end, and legally this also proves you took action to give the wrongdoer notice.
Be sure to log your interactions and concerns in writing so you can keep track of the actions you took.
File a complaint internally
Before you go straight to a lawsuit, you should file a complaint internally following your company’s protocols for sexual harassment. Your employee handbook or HR department should have information about how to file a complaint.
In following the rules for internal reporting, you give your company the ability to investigate and resolve the incident. It also preserves your legal right to sue. In some cases, a failure to make an internal complaint could result in you waiving your right to your lawsuit proceeding in court, as it is an indication that you did not take the proper steps or do everything you could to resolve the issue outside of court.
File an administrative charge
The next step is to file an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or other similar agency. A failure to do this before filing a lawsuit will result in your case being dismissed. Upon receiving the filing, the EEOC will notify your employer, and will then investigate your charge and take appropriate action ranging from dismissal to suggesting mediation or (in very rare circumstances) filing a lawsuit on your behalf.
File a lawsuit
The last step, if your case gets this far, is to file a lawsuit. The EEOC or other state agency will give you a “right to sue” lawsuit, that includes all the information you need about how to proceed.
For more information about filing a sexual harassment claim against a coworker, contact an experienced attorney in Bradenton, FL at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez & Walsh.