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Do I have the right to sue my boss for sexual harassment?

One of the more insidious consequences of sexual harassment on the job is that those victimized feel vulnerable and powerless. Sadly, some are even told that they should shut up about it and just put up with it in order to retain their jobs.

Missouri workers who are subjected to workplace sexual harassment need to understand that there are actions they can take to make the harassment stop. They include:

-- Speaking up about the offensive conduct. It may seem obvious in this day and age that such workplace behavior is out of line, but there are those who never realized that their loutish behavior rose to the level of prohibited sexual harassment. Once notified, they may quickly cease their actions. But even if they don't, victims have called them out for their egregious actions.

-- Follow workplace protocols for reporting harassment. If simply confronting the harasser doesn't stop the behavior patterns, follow company reporting procedures closely, especially regarding time limits and designated staff to whom to report.

Even if a company has no protocols for reporting in place, the victim should report the harassment to his or her supervisor, unless that person is the harasser. In that case, report it to his or her supervisor. Keep a written record of dates reported and the personnel who were notified. Also detail each incident, witnesses and the gist of the matter.

-- File an administrative charge. If resolution can't be reached with a company's internal procedures, the next step is to file a charge at either the state or federal level. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will pursue all claims and attempt to reach an acceptable resolution between you and your employer. Failing that, the EEOC will issue you a "right to sue" letter.

-- Filing suit. This is the final recourse for victims of sexual harassment. No physical injuries are necessary to initiate a civil suit for sexual harassment.

An employment law attorney can help you determine the right course of action for your situation.

Source: FindLaw, "Sexual Harassment: Actions You Can Take" accessed Mar. 20, 2015

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