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Take these steps if you’re a victim of sexual harassment

Recently, workplace sexual harassment has been a hot button topic in the media. Victims of sexual harassment have been coming forward and demanding that the harassers take responsibility for their actions. While women and men both are speaking out against such abhorrent behavior, the necessary changes will take time to filter through every industry.

In the meantime, it is vital to know what to do if you are ever a victim of sexual harassment in the workplace. The following steps are a guide you can follow if you find yourself in such a position.

Write down incidents of quid pro quo

One kind of harassment is "quid pro quo." This occurs when the harasser offers a job, promotion or other benefits if the victim gives in to the harassment. If the victim refuses, then the harasser will often threaten her (or him) with firing, demotion or some other type of punishment. If this happens, document the time and place and recount as much of the conversation as you can.

Make a note of different treatment

If your boss or coworkers are treating you differently and creating a hostile work environment for you, make a note of every instance. This includes any comments about your gender that people make directly to you or about you or any other person of your gender.

Protect your notes

Once you have documentation of sexual harassment, be sure you keep it in a safe place. This will be a significant part of your evidence when you file a complaint with Human Resources or if you have to take your case to court.

Keep copies

If your harasser is sending you text messages, leaving voicemails or communicating through emails, be sure to keep copies and back-ups of these communications. Take screen shots of the text messages or any communication the harasser sent through social media. This documentation will also serve as an important piece of evidence for your claim.

Once you have sufficient documentation, it is time to take action. First, go through the proper channels at work. If that does not work or your boss retaliates, then it might be time to take more drastic measures. If your are a victim of sexual harassment, you have rights and options.

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