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What can I do if I'm being sexually harassed?

There's a definite benefit to the sexual harassment allegations coming out in the news against noteworthy figures. What these instances say is this: No one at any job is so important that they can get away with sexual harassment. Hearing about the instances is also waking a lot of victims up to realize that they're being victimized in the exact same way.

If you're being hurt by on-the-job sexual harassment, you can speak up and put the abuse to a stop. Here's what you need to do:

  • Talk about it with your superiors or with the human resources department. Employees should report instances of sexual harassment to the appropriate person at work. They should first tell their abuser to stop. If the abuse won't stop, they should talk to an employee who is higher up than their abuser, or speak with the person designated to take these kinds of complaints. This is often enough to resolve the problem and stop the harassment in its tracks.
  • If the abuse continues, then you should follow the sexual harassment protocol outlined in the policies of your company -- if your company has one.
  • No matter how you respond to the sexual harassment, save all text messages, emails and other data that support your sexual harassment claims. Also, keep a record of the abuse by taking personal notes of the dates, times, circumstances and witnesses of each event.
  • As a final course of action, consider filing a sexual harassment complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may need help from a qualified employment law attorney with this process.

How to report sexual harassment at work

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It seems as though every day, we hear about another high profile sexual harassment claim in the news. Although the claims are both sad and shocking, victims feel more empowered than ever to speak out against the behavior they have experienced. This applies to sexual harassment both in and out of the workplace.

When it comes to reporting sexual harassment at work, many people still fear speaking out. They may fear embarrassment, job loss or another form of retaliation. Unfortunately, many never get the help they need.

Another television star accused of harassment: Charlie Rose

The television journalist Charlie Rose has been accused by eight women of sexual harassment. All of the women worked with Rose at PBS during his career at as a renowned interviewer there. According to the women, Rose groped them, disrobed in front of them and made unwanted sexual advances. According to one of the women, Rose touched her inappropriately while whispering sexually in her ear at a company event.

Less than 24 hours following the investigation, CBS terminated Rose from working with the company as a morning show co-anchor in a position he has held since 2012. The quick action of the president of CBS News in removing Rose shows how quickly companies are now responding to sexual harassment after multiple accusers come forward -- especially following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, which has unfolded over the last several weeks and prompted numerous women to come forward in the "me too" campaign.

Understand your leave request rights as an employee

If your employer is obligated to obey the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), you need to be aware of your rights when it comes to requesting leave -- because you certainly can't expect your employer to explain them to you or look out for your welfare.

1. You do not specifically have to make a request under the FMLA to qualify for FMLA leave. According to the Department of Labor's fact sheet, you don't have to use "FMLA" as some sort of magical invocation in order to assert your rights.

Can you identify the two types of sexual harassment at work?

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Numerous high-profile sexual harassment cases in the news are shining light on an important and widespread issue.

When it comes to sexual harassment both in and out of the workplace, it can be difficult for victims to speak out. Many never do.

Additionally, employees have many questions about identifying sexual harassment in the workplace - what is and what isn't sexual harassment? - and what steps to take when it happens.

Oprah and other stars want to clean up toxic Hollywood

Some of the biggest Hollywood names in the business have joined forces to stop sexual harassment. Among them are powerful Hollywood women like Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman and Oprah Winfrey. These well-regarded television and movie personalities have been privately meeting to create a cross-industry plan that will stop sexual harassment in its tracks. The effort was inspired by the recent news regarding the allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault committed by movie producer Harvey Weinstein.

In addition to the above three names, television producer Shonda Rhimes, movie producers Amy Pascal and Kathleen Kennedy are also involved in the efforts. The group has been brainstorming potential solutions, such as requiring entertainment firms to employ more women, creating abuse reporting systems and establishing the battle cry, "Time's up."

Can workplace sexual harassment affect your health?

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Sexual harassment is a traumatic thing that no employee should ever have to go through. Unfortunately, it happens in workplaces of all sizes, in all industries, all across the United States.

Some examples of workplace sexual harassment include:

Lawmaker gets disciplined after sexual harassment allegations

An assemblyman from the Los Angeles-area has been accused of sexual harassment related to an incident that happened in 2009. Allegedly, the man put his hands down the blouse of a fellow legislative staffer. However, the incident did not become public until last Friday.

Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra has become the first member of the currently-sitting California legislature to face accusations of sexual harassment after allegations that the California Capitol maintains a pervasive culture of sexual harassment. Women are now being asked to share the stories of what they've been forced to endure on the job.

A company reorganization is no excuse to illegally fire someone

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Many companies go through reorganizations, reductions in force, and layoffs. This is not unusual.

However, some companies use a reduction in force as an excuse to fire certain individuals or groups of employees for discriminatory purposes. This is illegal.

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