Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What to Do?
For the past few months multiple public figures, such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, have had women accuse them of sexual harassment in the workplace.
For the past few months multiple public figures, such as Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer, have had women accuse them of sexual harassment in the workplace. The allegations have caused women around the world to come out with their own stories creating a social media movement called #MeToo.
But what exactly is sexual harassment? How do we know a line has been crossed? Experts say harassment is anything verbal or physical that may make an individual feel uncomfortable, and affect their work performance. "Creates a hostile work environment or creates a demotion because you are not going along with that type of conduct then it has crossed the line," says Jesse Kalter, with Jesse Kalter Law.
Officials say there is a law called the Nevada Fair Employment Practices Act, which prohibits sexual harassment in the workplace. You can also file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which allows you 300 days to file a report after the incident. It also protects you from any retaliation after filing that report. "They should know that there are laws in place here in Nevada that protect them from retaliation from the employer if they file a complaint," Kalter. They say the first thing you do is to contact HR, or someone who is able to file a report, after that it is best to contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
It also helps past victims who may were afraid to file a report. "So if you have a company with a long history of sexual harassment going on for 10 years with a potential of 100 victims out there who has gone past their limitations period and finally one person files a case those 100 people can intervene," says Mark Mausert with Mark Mausert Law Offices.
Most of these victims have waited years to tell their story. Experts say there is a stigma on victims and they hope it changes. "Fear of retaliation, fear of the consequences, or whatever changes are going to take place when it is reported," says Elle Holbrook, License Clinical Professional Counselor.
Sexual harassment in the workplace not only creates an unsafe environment but it can also cause negative emotional impact on the victim. "Anxiety, depression and that could lead into social anxiety where they don't want to go out social situations because they don't want that to happen again," says Holbrook.
Experts say with the recent news regarding sexual harassment and public figures, it just shows that you are never too big to fall, and that it will help more victims gain the courage to come forward. "No matter the position of power, the person who is doing the harassment. Laws protect you and it is equal across the board and no one is above the sexual harassment law," says Kalter.
The number for the Equal Rights Commission of Northern Nevada is 775-823-6690 and for file a report with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission you can call 1-800-669-4000.