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How to Investigate and Handle a Sexual Harassment Claim

Employees have the right to work in an environment free of harassment. Unfortunately, sexual harassment is common in many workplaces. Many workers face verbal and physical harassment, as well as sexually explicit remarks and unwelcome sexual advances that can create a hostile work environment.

Employees do not need to be subject to this behavior. If they are being sexually harassed by a coworker, customer, manager or someone else, they have a right to file a complaint. Unfortunately, though, many employers do not take these complaints seriously. They ignore the situation, hoping it will go away. Instead, this almost always makes the situation worse.

Legally, your employer cannot retaliate against you or ignore the claim. Under the law, once your employer is aware of the sexual harassment, they must take prompt action to stop it. This means they must investigate the behavior and punish the offender appropriately so that the harassment stops. If you made a complaint to your employer, and they did not nothing to improve the situation, you may be able to file a lawsuit.

Evidence for Sexual Harassment Claim

If you are being harassed at work, you may want to let the offender know that you want the behavior to stop. If nothing happens, then take your complaint to HR or your manager. It helps to be armed with the right evidence. This would include the following:

  • Evidence of the harassment, such as texts, emails, voicemails or any written materials from the harasser
  • Any photos or videos of the harassment
  • Testimony from witnesses
  • Employee handbook outlining any sexual harassment policies

You should see your manager armed with this evidence. Your employer should take your claim seriously and work quickly to resolve the issue. Follow up if needed. If you find that your employer is ignoring you or not taking your claim seriously, then it may be a good idea to seek legal help.

Next Steps

Before you can file a lawsuit, you will need to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC will investigate and inform you of the next steps. You may be interviewed about the situation. Once the investigation is complete, you will receive a decision. If you receive a “Right-to-Sue” Notice, then you can proceed with filing a lawsuit. Make sure you file your lawsuit quickly, as statutes of limitations will apply. Your lawyer can help you obtain damages against your employer. Even if you do not receive a “Right-to-Sue” Notice, but your employer retaliates against you for filing a complaint, you should seek legal help.

Contact a New York Sexual Harassment Attorney

Your employer should take your sexual harassment claim seriously. If you have filed a complaint, but to no avail, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer.

If your employer has refused to protect your rights or has retaliated against you, the employment law attorneys at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. can help. We have options that can hold your employer liable for their actions. Call our office at (347) 464-8694 to schedule a free consultation.

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