According to researchers in the field of law and law enforcement, almost 12,000 claims of sexual harassment reached the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission between 2011 and 2020. There have been many other charges at state and local levels during this phase too. If you’re a victim of such a repulsive event, then you’ll probably seek support from a sexual harassment lawyer. Unfortunately, a lot of people shy away from bringing the culprit to justice because they aren’t sure of what to expect after filing a lawsuit. This write-up can be of use to you in this matter.
- The responsibility of the employer: It goes without saying that an employer has a few responsibilities in such events. Generally, if an employee becomes the target of this criminal offense, the first thing to do is to file a report internally with the employer. If the employer doesn’t meet the responsibilities, you may need to move on to the next step that incorporates hiring a lawyer or sending a complaint to the EEOC. The policies of every employer can differ in one way or another. Nevertheless, many similarities do exist. If you continue reading, you’ll learn what you should expect from an employer after filing a sexual harassment report.
- Swift investigation: The employer must take your complaint seriously and delegate the task of investigation to someone reliable as soon as possible. This investigator will be in charge of acquiring data concerning the nature and circumstances of the event, the perpetrator’s name, and the names of individuals who witnessed the episode. The investigator will also gather and note down the names of every other person who got subjected to sexual harassment if any. You can probably guess that you’ll need to offer descriptions and the harassment’s chronological account. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance that you document the abuse the moment it happens. If you refrain from doing it or take too long, you may have to provide a valid reason for your inaction.
- Consequences: With a sexual harassment lawyer to watch your back, you should expect the harasser to face appropriate consequences. Of course, not every accusation of inappropriate behavior will reach the level of sexual harassment. However, if the investigation unearths sexual harassment, the perpetrator will face disciplinary outcomes. Those consequences may incorporate a demotion, a written or oral warning, deferring an announced promotion or raise reassignment, or something similar. In severe cases, the organization may suspend or fire the accused individual.
- No retaliation: Most victims don’t even report or inform that they’ve been a victim of sexual harassment because they fear retaliation. After all, a coworker holding a similar post as yours may not be the culprit. One of your superiors or an influential person in the company can indulge in harassing women sexually from time to time. Understandably, fear is always present. However, you need to know that it’s entirely unlawful for the employer to strike back at you for filing a formal complaint. It doesn’t matter whether the investigation doesn’t find anything against the alleged perpetrator. If you end up suffering professional consequences for complaining, you must contact a lawyer immediately. In most cases, retaliation appears in the form of demotions, reassignments, pay reduction, withdrawal of an already-announced promotion, removing the opportunity of a pay hike, or other similar outcomes.
- Indifference from employers: While it may be disheartening, an employer may display indifference towards your complaint. If you filed a complaint concerning sexual harassment and your employer doesn’t take appropriate action, you must get in touch with an attorney. You should do it if the employer disregards your allegations, doesn’t take them seriously, doesn’t conduct a thorough investigation promptly, or doesn’t stop the perpetrator from retaliating; a lawyer is the only person who can help you.
In the end, it’s worth repeating again what an employee should do if they’re getting sexually harassed by someone at their workplace. You should start by jotting everything down on a piece of paper. It should contain everything from the day and time of the event to its nature. You mustn’t forget to include the names of eyewitnesses if there were any. While it’s worthwhile to solve the issue internally, you should look for a sexual harassment lawyer if it doesn’t work out.