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How do I report workplace sexual harassment?

Many Michigan employees feel compelled to keep their private and professional lives as separate as possible. But, there is no denying an employee who becomes the victim of sexual harassment at work suffers a personal injury.

Many employees aren't sure how to proceed when sexual harassment takes place. A boss or employer may not agree sexually explicit materials in the workplace or lewd comments are out of bounds. If employers don't find this offensive, they may expect workers to feel the same way.

A victim must make it clear to a harasser that the sexual conduct is unwelcome. By informing the company, you are letting the employer know the behavior is unacceptable and must stop. What an employer does next dictates how a claim should proceed.

Some Oakland County businesses may tell employees to learn to put up with inappropriate behavior. The implication may be that if the employee doesn't comply, he or she can leave the company, or worse yet, be penalized for not being a "team player."

An employment attorney will encourage workers to follow company procedures exactly to report sexual harassment. Even when a company lacks a formal policy, employees should file a report with a supervisor. If your boss is the source of the harassment, take the complaint to upper management.

Keep detailed records of incidents of sexual harassment to support the claim. This information may prove to be very valuable in case an employer fails to help you settle a complaint. You can forward these records to government agencies like the Michigan Department of Civil Rights or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, agencies that investigate sexual harassment claims.

Government agencies decide whether an employee's claim is valid. A right-to-sue letter issued by an investigating agency clears the way for legal action. An employment attorney can help an employee recover compensation for damages caused by the harassment.

Source: FindLaw, "Sexual Harassment: Actions You Can Take," accessed Aug. 28, 2015

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