If you were sexually harassed at school or at work, the first step is to notify the person in charge or another authority figure. However, you should call 911 if you feel that you are also in danger from the person who sexually harassed you. Most workplaces, educational institutions and other public places have policies and procedures for filing sexual harassment reports. If you were recently harassed in a sexual way, our attorneys can help.
How to Report Sexual Harassment Properly
Since you may need to pursue a legal case after a sexual harassment incident, it is critical to have the incident and ensuing events or communications documented.
Write Your Own Incident Notes
First, create your own detailed account of the incident in writing. When you write down the details quickly after the incident, you are more likely to recall them later and create a clearer picture for authority figures. It may also serve as evidence later. If you remember exactly what the harasser said to you, write down those words. Include as many descriptive details as possible. These are a few helpful questions to ask yourself as you compose your documentation:
- Where did the incident occur?
- At what time did the incident occur?
- Were there any witnesses?
- What happened before the harassment?
- Did you feel threatened by the harasser before, during or after the incident?
- Did the harasser make any verbal threats or try to coerce you?
Contact the Right Authority Figure
If another employee sexually harassed you at your own workplace or in another public place, contact the manager to file a complaint. The manager will tell you how to proceed. If a manager does not help you, contact the company’s administration or human resources department. When harassment happens at school, contact the dean, human resources or the administration department to find out how to write a report for that institution. In your workplace, there may be an employee handbook with specific procedures for reporting sexual harassment against yourself or someone else who you saw being sexually harassed. Follow any procedures that are listed.
Make Communications Traceable
Although you can make calls to find out who you should contact for grievances, every communication with the designated party should be in writing. You can send emails or certified letters. If you are required to attend a meeting to present your evidence, be sure to bring any supporting witness statements or personal accounts. Bring any texts, emails or notes that the harasser sent to you. It may take up to a few weeks for an employer or entity to respond to your grievance. If you do not receive a call or email by then, follow up with the entity or contact person.
When to Contact a New York City Sexual Harassment Attorney
If the institution or company does not respond or responds negatively, contact an attorney. An attorney who understands New York’s sexual harassment and federal Title VII laws can help you determine if you can file a lawsuit. Title VII provisions require you to file an EEOC charge before a lawsuit can take place. However, many of the EEOC rules only apply to companies that have more than 15 workers. State laws still protect people who work for smaller companies.
In many cases, victims are afraid to file sexual harassment charges for fear of retaliation or termination. If you are a victim of sexual harassment, your employer cannot fire you for filing a report or charges. Also, harassers will face more serious criminal charges if they try to retaliate against you. We make discretion and confidentiality our top priorities. Our attorneys serve the New York City area and have three offices throughout Manhattan and Long Island. Please call us today for a free consultation.