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How should your employer address sexual harassment?

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Being the victim of sexual harassment at work can distract you from your responsibilities, compromise your reputation and threaten your career. Ignorance from your employer can exacerbate the problem and send a dangerous message that harassment is acceptable in their organization.

Once you have identified a problem and reported it to management, they should respond right away. Knowing what to expect from your employer can help you protect your rights and your well-being.

Enforce consequences

Reading through your employer’s sexual harassment policy can give you an idea of what to expect from them. Part of their policy should clearly outline the consequences for workers who violate the agreement.

They will likely investigate your allegations. They may rely upon your testimony, witness statements and any communication or evidence you have collected regarding your case. Once they have corroborated your story, they should immediately enforce an appropriate consequence for the perpetrator.

Provide support

Depending on the severity of your situation, you will need time away from work to process your circumstances. You may need to temporarily relocate to another position. If you suffered emotional trauma because of the harassment, you may need to participate in therapy to help you sort through your feelings and regain your confidence.

When you return to work, your employer should listen respectfully to your concerns. According to LinkedIn, even after the closure of formal legal matters, your employer should continue to provide support. For example, they may ask if you feel they handled your case appropriately. They may also ask you to share your experience to empower and incentivize other workers to conduct themselves with professionalism and respect in the workplace.