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What should you do if faced with sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment doesn't always follow the lines of a made-for-television movie. While that type of overt, threatening harassment does exist and should be immediately dealt with for the safety of the victim, sexual harassment can also be a harder-to-define pattern of behavior. It's even possible that the person doing the harassment is not completely aware how his or her behavior is impacting someone else. If you are dealing with this latter type of harassment, here are some steps you might consider.

First, you might consider speaking directly to the person. If this person is threatening you or you believe speaking to him or her would endanger you or your reputation, be cautious with this step. If you believe this person might be unaware that he or she is are acting in a harassing manner, then an honest conversation might help alleviate the issue.

At the same time, you might also want to gather any documents or evidence of the harassment in case the issue must be escalated. Take notes with times and dates, including lists of people who might have witnessed the behavior, and save emails or any other hard copy evidence.

When escalating inside the workplace, consider speaking with your immediate supervisors, human resources or senior management. If possible, follow the chain of command, but you'll probably need to skip any part of that command chain that is involved in the harassment.

Finally, if nothing is done and your employer does not address the situation appropriately, you might want to seek outside assistance. Consider speaking to an employment law professional at any time during the above processes to understand what your options might be for legal remedy or resolution.

Source: Zip Recruiter, "How to Deal With Sexual Harassment in the Workplace," Nicole Cavazos, accessed Aug. 05, 2016

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