Sexual harassment can affect you regardless of your gender identity. The sexually charged comments and aggressive behaviors of others can hurt you even if you are not the intended target.
Business News Daily explains that, even though it can be difficult to talk about harassment from a co-worker or supervisor, it is important for you to report it. Here are some suggestions for how you should approach the issue.
Do follow the established formal procedures for reporting harassment
Not every workplace has a formal reporting procedure in place for workplace harassment. However, if your workplace does, follow the established protocol.
Do not confront the harasser unless you feel safe doing so
In some situations, it can be helpful to inform the harasser that his or her conduct is unacceptable and explain why. Some people do not realize that their behavior amounts to harassment and are willing to accept the boundaries you set.
However, use your own judgment as to whether you could be putting yourself at risk by confronting the harasser. If it does not feel safe, do not attempt.
Do escalate the issue as needed
If your workplace does not have a formal reporting procedure in place, use your judgment as to who has the authority to address the problem. Depending on who the harasser is, this may be your immediate supervisor, an human resources officer or your employer. If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the initial report, keep escalating until the issue receives the attention you feel it deserves.
Do not discuss the issue with co-workers
While reporting sexual harassment is important, it is not a good idea to discuss the matter with people at work who are not in a position to do something about it. They may have to give testimony as part of the investigation into your complaint, and whatever you say to them may hurt you later.
Do know your rights
Sexual harassment at work can make you feel worthless. You may fear retaliation if you make trouble for co-workers or superiors. However, you do not deserve this treatment and, when it comes to stopping it, the law is on your side.
If the people in authority at your workplace do not investigate the matter, you have other ways of seeking recourse, such as filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.