How to stop sexual harassment without losing your job

You should feel comfortable and safe completing your job duties at your place of work. Sexual harassment has no place in employment.

If you are subject to frequent, serious verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature and are afraid to speak up, rest assured that you have legal protections under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state laws.

Say no to your harasser

Do what you can to notify your harasser that his or her offensive behavior is unwelcome. Even if you do not feel safe or comfortable speaking to your harasser directly, use your body language to disapprove of the offending conduct. Make sure you do not send any mixed signals such as flirting back or engaging in the banter.

Any type of communication is better than ignoring the harassment and hoping it will just go away.

Keep detailed notes

Write down exactly what happened as soon as possible. Record times, places, dates and potential witnesses to the harassment. Encourage your coworkers to do the same if they too experience sexual harassment. Keep this information privately at home and not on any sort of work device or email account.

Review your employee handbook or policies

Check the harassment policies at your workplace and go through the proper avenues to report the harassment to management in writing. Even if you do not think that a complaint to your supervisor or HR director will do any good, this report of harassment is necessary evidence for any future lawsuits.

Remember your legal protections

Retaliation is illegal. If your employer takes any adverse employment action against you (i.e. pay cut, demotion, transfer or firing) after you make a reasonable harassment complaint, you have legal recourse.

You can lessen your stress and fears by working with an employment discrimination attorney. The right lawyer can be your strong advocate, defender and guide through this difficult period.