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How to respond to sexual harassment at work

Sadly, sexual harassment in the workplace is common. According to a recent survey, 81 percent of women experience sexual harassment. This is a staggering statistic that demonstrates the severity of the issue. Even though sexual harassment is prevalent, it is not always corrected or punished. 

It is important to remember that you have the right to work in a safe environment. It can be intimidating and uncomfortable to take action to stop sexual harassment, but you are worth it. You should not put up with any behavior that violates your rights. If you find yourself dealing with a harasser at your job, here are some guidelines for what to do next. 

Speak up

When a co-worker, supervisor or customer makes you uncomfortable with an inappropriate comment or behavior, it is vital for you to tell this person it is unacceptable. State clearly that you will not put up with such behavior. If the harasser continues without regard to your comfort, you may need to take further action. 

Write down the details

The next step is to document interactions with your harasser. You can do this on your home computer or phone, or in a journal. Write down every detail you can remember, including the date, time, location and names of witnesses. Try to write as objectively and accurately as possible. 

File a report

As soon as you feel ready and have the legal guidance necessary to move forward, you should report the incidents to your supervisor or human resources department. One way to inform your workplace about the harassment is by giving a formal letter to your direct supervisor or HR person. This is better than giving a verbal report because there is more concrete proof of the report being made. Once you make the report, your employer should investigate the conduct and make any necessary corrections or mete out punishments.  

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