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Handling sexual harassment at work: What to do

Workplace sexual harassment is a prohibited form of sex discrimination under both California and federal law. Despite the prohibitions against it, sexual harassment remains as a pervasive problem. People who are the victims may also not know what they can do when they are being harassed.

Before people file charges of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, they should first file complaints within their companies according to the stated processes. Victims might want to review the procedures for filing sex discrimination complaints and then follow them. They should document all of the instances of the harassment, including saving emails and text messages. They should write down what happened, the date when it occurred and the names of all of the people who were present.

After they file written complaints, the victims should be interviewed as a part of their employers' investigative processes. If the employers fail to take action or retaliate against the workers for filing complaints, they might then file charges of discrimination or retaliation with the EEOC and the corresponding agency in California.

Victims of sexual harassment have protection from retaliation when they engage in protected activities, including filing complaints. People might want to talk to experienced employment lawyers about what has occurred. The lawyers might guide them through their companies' internal complaint processes. If the employers fail to do anything or retaliate against the victims, the attorneys may assist their clients with filing discrimination charges. If they are granted leave to file lawsuits, the attorneys may then file formal complaints with the court in an effort to recover damages for their clients. Lawsuits may allow the victims to hold their employers accountable and to help others who work for them by stopping ongoing patterns of harassment and discrimination at their jobs.

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