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What to expect after filing a sexual harassment complaint

On Behalf of | Jun 20, 2024 | Workplace Harassment

No one should ever have to experience sexual harassment, especially in the workplace. Unfortunately, it happens more often than it should. While filing a sexual harassment complaint can seem daunting, it is a way to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions.

Steps that usually occur after a complaint is filed

After your company acknowledges your complaint, an investigation should start quickly. This typically involves interviews with you, the accused and witnesses. Your employer might take temporary steps to protect you, such as changing your work location or schedule.

Investigators will then gather evidence, including emails, messages, and other relevant documents. After reviewing all the evidence, the investigator will conclude whether harassment occurred. If it did, appropriate disciplinary action should follow.

What should you do if they ignore your complaint?

While most companies have standard policies and procedures regarding complaints, some do not. If your employer ignores your complaint or you feel the process is not being handled properly, take these steps:

  • Follow-up: Contact the HR department or the person who received your complaint. Ask for an update on the investigation.
  • Escalate the issue: If your initial point of contact is unresponsive, escalate the complaint to higher management or another appropriate authority within your organization.
  • Document everything: Keep your records of all your interactions and any further incidents of harassment or retaliation.
  • Consider whistleblower protections: Research whether you are eligible for protection under whistleblower laws, which can offer additional safeguards against retaliation.

If your company still does not respond, consider filing a complaint with external bodies like the Ohio Civil Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You may also seek help from a legal professional who can guide you on what to do next and help protect your rights.

Taking care of yourself

Filing a sexual harassment complaint is a courageous act. You may feel anxious or uncertain about the process, but remember you are not alone.

Many people have gone through this, and support systems are available to help you. Stay strong and contact trusted friends, family or professional counselors if you need emotional support.