If you experienced harassment in the workplace, you may have a case against your company.
According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, harassment includes any unwelcome conduct based on your race, religion, sex, older age, genetic information, disability and national origin.
Who does harassment affect?
A misconception about harassment is that it only impacts the victim. The victim can be the person harassed or an individual affected by the offensive conduct. For example, if you witness a coworker’s harassment and become fearful of demotion or firing for what you witness, you are a victim too.
The victim does not have to be someone who suffers economic injury or firing. For example, if your supervisor makes sexual remarks towards you, but you never lose your job or suffer any financial loss, you still have every right to report the encounters. You should always report a hostile work environment.
Perpetrators do not have to be supervisors, managers or other employees. They can be anyone within the office or place of work, including clients or contract workers.
Who do you hold accountable for harassment?
If you face termination, receive a demotion or lose your chance at a promotion, you can hold your employer accountable. If your supervisor creates a hostile work environment and you make your employer aware of it, he or she has to take steps to stop the behavior. If the employer has control over an employee or non-employee, he or she should take prompt action.
If you suffer severe harassment, it may be illegal conduct. When the EEOC investigates, it looks through the entire record of the event.