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Steps for dealing with workplace sexual harassment

An enjoyable work environment can take a turn for the worse if a coworker sexually harasses you. Not only can this make you uncomfortable, but in some cases you may think twice about quitting your job.

No two types of sexual harassment are the same, however, there are basic steps you can take to effectively deal with this:

-- Read over your employee handbook. What does it say about sexual harassment? Is there a process in place for reporting this? You should follow the protocol as outlined.

-- Speak to the person who is harassing you. Let this person know he or she crossed the line and you have no intentions on letting it happen again. This may be enough to make the individual stop.

-- Tell your supervisor. Explain the entire situation, including the steps you have taken to remedy the issue. If your supervisor is the one harassing you, consult with a human resource professional.

-- Don't let your guard down. Just because you think the problem has gone away doesn't mean it has. If the person harasses you again in the future, you should once again follow the steps above.

There is no "full proof" way of dealing with workplace sexual harassment. What works for one person may not have the same impact for another. If you find yourself in this situation, you can take the basic steps above in the hope that it solves your problem.

Even if you don't believe you will ever be a victim, it is important to learn more about dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: American Association of University Women, "Know Your Rights: Workplace Sexual Harassment" accessed Mar. 09, 2015

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