SAN ANTONIO - If you're sexually harassed at your job, human resources experts say the first and most important thing to do is to be vocal that the behavior is inappropriate to you.
HR experts say sexual harassment is repeated unwanted behavior. They say if you think you're a victim of sexual harassment, tell your immediate supervisor or someone in your company's HR department.
"A lot of times people worry about not being believed or retaliation or harassment via their coworkers for getting their friend or their buddy in trouble or something like that and so it's illegal to retaliate against somebody who files a formal complaint so that's how a victim or a potential victim protests themselves by filing that complaint and being on the record," said Jeri George, president of San Antonio Human Resources Management Association.
HR departments can conduct internal investigations or bring in a third party to look into the allegations. They can recommend disciplinary action like termination, demotion or moving that employee to a different department.
"Those departments are really going to be focusing in on keeping those investigations contained for the privacy of the potential victim," George said.
If you feel that your company didn't handle your case properly or you work for a small company or are an independent contractor and you believe you are a victim of workplace sexual harassment you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Texas Workforce Commission.
If TWC makes a finding in favor of the complainant in a discrimination case, a letter will be sent to both parties. TWC will attempt to conciliate the case with an agreement that can consist of monetary or non monetary relief. If conciliation is not successful, the TWC's Civil Rights Division director can bring the case before a three member Commission to request authority for filing a civil action. If they decide to pursue civil action, TWC can file a lawsuit through the Texas Office of Attorney General.
If a sexual harassment crosses the line into a sexual assault or rape case, human resources experts say it's important to contact law enforcement.
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