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How to deal with sexual harassment at work

A woman experiencing sexual harassment at work

The world has come a long way on gender equality, but statistics show one in two women in the UK has been the victim of sexual harassment at work – and that’s not even counting the men who are being preyed upon. Finding yourself in a difficult situation is disheartening and many feel embarrassed about making a complaint.

With that in mind, career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine recently wrote an article for Money magazine in which she outlined five steps to take if you feel you’re the victim of sexual harassment.

Speak up from the start
If you find yourself in a situation that makes you uncomfortable or overhear a comment that offends you, say something directly to the perpetrator. Most of the time the person will not have thought about how his or her actions might affect others and will immediately apologise. But you have to be clear that the behaviour is unacceptable – don’t make a joke of it and stay calm to diffuse the situation.

Keep notes
If the bad behaviour continues, start documenting every occurrence in addition to stating your objections. Make a note of the time, place, details of what was said or done and the names of anybody who witnessed it that could corroborate your story. This can make all the difference in building a case when you ask for help.

Ask for outside advice
Have a conversation with somebody outside of the company who can act as a voice of authority on sexual harassment at work, such as someone in HR or employment law. Tell them about your situation and get their advice.

Get inside help
Continue to build your support group, this time from within the company. Ask if anybody else has noticed the offending behaviour, or find a friend in a colleague who has experienced harassment themselves. They can give you advice on how to proceed.

Make it official
When you’re ready to present an official case, your first point of contact should be the offender’s line manager. If you don’t know them or don’t feel comfortable doing that then go directly to HR and insist they open an investigation. This is where your document of the person’s behaviour is key, as it gives HR a list of people to interview and specific details to look into.

Read the original article at