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Dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace

Employees in Pennsylvania who face sexual harassment on the job might wonder what their options are. Some companies might only have one avenue for reporting harassment. This could become a problem if the harasser is a manager or someone involved in HR. Some employees may go to an attorney or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, but others may hesitate to do so because they worry about how it will affect their job.

Companies should have a good anti-harassment policy in place with multiple channels for reporting harassment. They should also be dedicated to investigating conduct and reports of harassment even when there is not an official complaint. One study found that fewer than one-third of women who experience harassment officially report it. Companies must also be committed to taking action regardless of the status or performance of the harasser if the complaints turn out to be true. A complacent attitude can be harmful for a company, and just offering training on sexual harassment is often not sufficient.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment continues to be a problem in the workplace. In 2016, there were around 27,000 complaints of sexual harassment submitted to the EEOC. A company may spend $100,000 or even millions of dollars on sexual harassment charges. In addition, negative publicity could lead to losing clients and customers.

Some people might not know whether what they have faced in the workplace counts as sexual harassment or what they can do in response. They might want to report the harassment at work but not know who they should tell. A person may want to talk to an attorney first about employee rights. The attorney could advise the employee about how to document the harassment and approach the meeting. If the company's response is unsatisfactory, the attorney may be able to assist with negotiations or a lawsuit.

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