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3 Things To Remember When Reporting Sexual Harassment

The law regarding sexual harassment is designed to encourage victims to report sexual harassment and give their employers the opportunity to correct it.  This means women are often reporting sexual harassment without first consulting an attorney.  Here are three things to remember when reporting sexual harassment. 1.  It's Not Your Fault.  I didn't understand this one when I first began handling sexual harassment cases, but I've seen it enough now to know it's a reality. Women who have been sexually harassed inherently feel guilty or responsible, as if they've done something to invite the harassment, when it's usually not their fault at all.  Don't make this mistake, and when you complain don't speculate in your complaint about what you might have done to encourage the harassment.  You will regret it later when time provides objectivity the present omits. 2.  Don't Worry About How Your Report Will Affect the Harasser.  This one always shocks me.  The boss gropes his secretary, hounds her for sex and makes repeated sexual remarks to her, but she delays in reporting because she doesn't want him to lose his job, or when she reports she omits much of the conduct to keep him from being terminated.  I can only guess this peculiar compassion for sexual predators is somehow birthed by the misguided emotions recounted above ("It's Not Your Fault").  Don't give in to this temptation.  If he's doing this to you, he's probably done it to others before you who didn't report him.  Besides, your compassion will be interpreted by the company and its attorneys in any subsequent litigation as an indication that what he did to you must not have been serious. 3.  When You Report, Report Everything. Whether you make an oral report or a written statement, you must take your time and mention everything that he's done or said to you of a sexual nature, regardless of how serious it seems at the time.  Your impulse will be to leave out everything but the one act that caused you to report him because the whole situation is uncomfortable to deal with, but avoid the urge.  What you don't report won't get investigated, and if a lawsuit develops you can rest assured anything you left out of your statement the company's lawyer will argue never happened and was made up by you and your attorney after-the-fact. Remember these three things and you will be more likely to put an end to the sexual harassment when you report it, protect others from becoming victims, and preserve any claims you might have if the company doesn't act appropriately.  GSF.

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