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4 things you can do when you experience sexual harassment at work

If you experience sexual harassment at work, you may well feel powerless. What if your supervisor is the one harassing you? You know you do not hold the power in that relationship and you worry about losing your job.

What you must know is that sexual harassment is always illegal, no matter who is involved. You are not powerless. You do have options. Here are four things you can do:

  1. Make sure you understand the company's policies. The handbook will tell you exactly where the company stands and who to contact. It may also give you examples in case you're not sure if your case qualifies.
  2. Write down everything that happens and gather evidence. Save things like voicemails, text messages or email messages. When you file your report, you want to have as much evidence as possible on your side.
  3. Talk to your boss or the person the company handbook instructs you to contact. Take this to the top. Companies take sexual harassment very seriously. File a prompt report and let them know that you also take it seriously.
  4. Learn about government bodies that you can get in touch with. Perhaps you fear that your boss won't do anything productive. You may also want to contact the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), for instance, or the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). They share information, so filing with either one is the same as filing with both.

As you move forward with this, make sure you fully understand your rights under California law and all the legal steps that you can take to protect yourself.

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It can be hard to take the first steps in these cases when your livelihood is at stake, but know that you have rights available to you. Let us help you determine what you can do to bring an end to your employer's unlawful behavior.