Google CEO Sundar Pichai has recently revealed that 48 employees have been fired from Google on grounds of sexual misconduct. The era of #metoo has filtered out a large number of perpetrators from society, something that has been long overdue. Sexual harassment can come from your boss, colleague, friend, or family member, and regardless of what gender they may be, perpetrators must be called out. If you experience this at your workplace, it is imperative that you report such behaviour, as you need to have a safe environment to work in, and any violation against you, in general, is unacceptable –
Identify if you’ve been sexually harassed
Occasional compliments that are socially acceptable (for example – Hey, I like your dress) do not fall under the realm of sexual harassment. An unwelcome comment such as “Hey, I’d like to rip that dress off” is offensive, forcing oneself on a colleague, or proposing a sexual relationship with a colleague is considered sexual harassment. However, if you positively respond to such remarks, it certainly cannot be classified as sexual harassment and your complaint will be invalid.
Take the next Step
This is often where victims are in a dilemma. They often feel intimidate or like their job will be in jeopardy if they come forward with the incident(s). However, you obviously will want your perpetrator to stop at some point, and calling them out to management is your only option. In the era of #MeToo, complaining about sexual harassment has become easier, as companies and individuals have responded positively to all complaints.
Begin the Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures
All companies have certain sexual harassment guidelines in place that you must follow to report the incident(s). This will include reporting it to your manager, who will then report it to a higher management team. The company will also have a certain person you might need to report this to. But if, for whatever reason, you are uncomfortable talking to this person, you can talk to any other manager in the company. Your complaint should carefully detail the name(s), date, the actions, conversations, and witnesses (if any). If the incident(s) has taken place via text message, attach screenshots of the conversation for proof.
Do not expect the management to respond in seconds, they will need time to determine the consequences and actions that need to be taken. As sexual harassment is a serious offence, companies will not take too long to respond to you.
In the case of lack of any response or strict action against your predator (or even if the harassment continues), it’s best to take the legal route. An attorney does come with a certain expense, but it is the best option if you find that you’re not satisfied with the company’s investigation into the matter. You can also bring in your lawyer if you suffer any consequences or retaliation against you for complaining about sexual harassment in the company, as it is against the law. However, it is highly unlikely that you would reach this point.