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Three steps to protect yourself against retaliation

Thanks to the #MeToo movement, more individuals every day have the courage to speak up about sexual harassment in the workplace.

However, many people might worry about suffering retaliation if they speak up. After all, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) reports that retaliation claims are still the most common charges filed in California and across the nation.

So, what steps can you take to protect yourself against retaliation?

1. Report the harassment

You must ensure you follow your employer’s policy and report:

  • The sexual harassment experienced at work; and
  • The retaliation experienced concerning that report.

This might seem overwhelming, but it is critical. 

Essentially, you must be able to connect the retaliation to the protected activity – in this case, reporting sexual harassment. That is why it is important to follow the proper procedure, so you have an accurate record of both your reports.

Reporting this harassment properly is also what provides you with legal protection against retaliation.

2. Know that retaliation can take many forms

When people think of workplace retaliation, they often imagine threats from supervisors or even being fired. However, retaliation can often be more subtle, such as:

  • Exclusion from meetings or workplace events;
  • Negative performance reviews; or
  • Assignments of more difficult work.

Understanding all of the potential forms retaliation can take can help you recognize it and take action as soon as possible to protect yourself.

3. Record all instances of retaliation

Another critical way to protect yourself is to keep a detailed record of any retaliation you experience. This includes:

  • Creating a written record of verbal threats or harassment;
  • Saving harassing emails or electronic messages;
  • Recording the dates and times of this harassment; and
  • Noting who was involved.

Retaliation can be emotionally stressful to deal with. Recording these instances can be just as stressful. However, it is important to remember that keeping a record of this evidence will bolster your claim and help you obtain justice.

When faced with sexual harassment and retaliation at work, it is often in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney. An attorney can help you protect your rights in these difficult situations.

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