It is hard to tell exactly how prevalent sexual harassment is in the workplace, but the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) estimates that the number of employees who experience sexual harassment at work is about four times as many as the number of people who file sexual harassment complaints with the EEOC. Fear of retaliation is only one of the many reasons that employees hesitate to report sexual harassment and other kinds of employment discrimination to the EEOC or their employer’s human resources departments.
Filing discrimination complaints is a protected activity, but employers still find plenty of ways to intimidate employees or otherwise make it difficult to report discrimination promptly. Following the procedures required to remain eligible to file a lawsuit can be overwhelming even in situations that are not as inherently stressful as fighting back against workplace sexual harassment, but a New Jersey sexual harassment retaliation lawyer can help you with every step of the process.
When HR is Uncooperative
The logical place to start when trying to fight back against sexual harassment at work is to report it to human resources; even if you do not expect HR to find a quick solution to the problem, you at least have documentation that you spoke up about the harassment. Unfortunately, HR is not always helpful. The HR representative may promise to take action but then do nothing and give you evasive answers when you try to follow up. Even worse, they may try to discourage you from complaining. You should document all the unsatisfactory responses you get from HR and discuss them with an employment lawyer.
When Retaliation Seems Inevitable
One situation where many sexual harassment incidents go unreported is when the harassment is coming from a high-ranking person in the organization or someone in a direct supervisory position over the complainant. In situations like these, the victim has reason to fear retaliation, and HR might even side with the supervisor instead of with the employee who complains about him or her.
When Sexual Harassment is Ubiquitous in the Work Environment
In some workplaces, sexual harassment is the rule rather than the exception. Some employers have faced class action lawsuits from groups of women who described the workplace as a “frat house” environment. Just because certain behaviors are normal in the sense of being widespread, it does not necessarily mean that they are acceptable. You still have the right to complain about sexual harassment even if you are not the only target of it in your workplace; sometimes, when one person speaks up about sexual harassment, other coworkers will feel emboldened to do so, too.
Contact a New Jersey Employment Lawyer About Workplace Sexual Harassment
An employment lawyer can help you report sexual harassment even if it seems like your coworker and the human resources department, would prefer to ignore it. Contact McOmber McOmber & Luber in Red Bank, Marlton, Newark New Jersey, to discuss your case.