Sexual harassment is no laughing matter. And, sadly, nobody ever really wins in these situations. That being said, I commend you for doing your homework and being proactive in trying to get this under control. If you’re being sexually harassed at work, I encourage you to read the following tips for getting the issue resolved.
Documenting each interaction is a good start. More importantly, having several direct conversations with the person in question where you made it quite clear which actions you felt were inappropriate is another important step. This type of boundary-setting is vital in proving your case.
Meet With Your Boss
As far as moving forward, your next step is to set a meeting with your boss to discuss getting this situation under control. You don’t want to go around him. As your manager, he is the next appropriate channel. At the same time, if you allow your boss to address this with his crony without any guidance from HR, he could be ineffective or even brush your claim as not valid after hearing his friend’s side of the story.
To ensure he takes the right actions, I suggest you set a meeting with him to tell him directly you plan to go to HR to address this issue and want him involved in the meeting because he is friends with the person who is harassing you.
You can say the following:
“Please know this is a very difficult conversation for me and I’ve had to deal with significant stress over the fact that it has come to this point. I want to discuss with you the challenges I’m having with _____. After repeated attempts on my end to get the situation under control, as well as researching and taking the necessary steps to prove the problem exists, I want to go to HR with you to stop the sexual harassment I am experiencing. I have kept documentation of what’s transpired including several direct conversations with ____ where I made clear how his actions were making me feel uncomfortable and requested him to stop. I was hoping you would come with me to the HR meeting since you are friends with ____ and we could both determine what can be done to make him stop using HR’s guidance. I’m really grateful for you helping me with this You cannot imagine how hard it has been.”
This will help to ensure that appropriate actions are taken. And, in the event your manager doesn’t follow through and assist you with this request, you will have further documentation and the ability to press forward and contact HR directly for assistance.
Find A New Job
Finally, I would consider preparing to find new employment. Even if this is resolved, you may find that working there after it is over is still uncomfortable. For example, if the actions result in termination of the person harassing you, some employees may not be supportive of you.
Sadly, this does happen, so it’s better that you at least start to network and look for places where you would feel safer and less stressed. Especially, if this problem isn’t resolved, at which point you’ll need to get out for your own sanity. Is it fair? No. But, it is sometimes the reality.
I wish you the very best and truly commend you for sticking up for yourself. No women or man deserves to be harassed on the job!
Photo Credit: Shutterstock