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Things your employer should to after you report sexual harassment

If you feel you are being harassed sexually in the workplace, then one of the first things you might consider doing is reporting the behavior to the appropriate supervisor or human resource representative at your company. Obviously this wouldn't be the case if the harassment is coming from that person or if you don't feel safe making the report for another reason, and you should never hesitate to consult with an outside employment law professional if you aren't sure about the next best steps.

Once you do report possible sexual harassment within the workplace, then be prepared for and expect your employer to take action. First, whoever you reported the incident to should follow company protocol in reporting it up the chain of command appropriately. That doesn't always means reporting the incident all the way up through leadership; often, it means providing the information to an HR or compliance officer so an investigation can take place.

Do expect your employer to follow confidentiality procedures. While some people might need to be made aware of some details of the incident so that an investigation and corrective action can proceed, your supervisor or others shouldn't share the information with everyone in the building. If you feel discretion isn't being followed, talking to someone in leadership.

Finally, do expect that you won't be retaliated against for making the report -- that's actually illegal. If you are retaliated against, then consider speaking immediately with a lawyer to plan your next actions. You have a right as a worker to make such a report in good faith and have your employer investigate the matter without turning against you.

Source: HR Hero, "Top 10 tips for conducting an effective sexual harassment investigation," Lauren M. Cooper, accessed Nov. 11, 2016

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