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How to Properly Report Sexual Harassment and Discrimination at Work: HR is Not Your Friend

Emanuel Shirazi

Wondering what to do if you have been sexually harassed or assaulted by someone at work?If your first thought was to make a report to HR, you may want to listen up. The truth of the matter is that the HR department has been put in place to serve the needs of the company first and foremost. This is why so many sexual harassment cases get swept under the rug. Uber engineer Susan Fowler’s bold actions eventually led to the resignation of Uber founder Travis Kalanick, but only after she pushed her claims out to the public via her blog.

Bottom line: The HR department is there to protect the company and keep legal damage to the company at a minimum.

Before you head to HR, ask yourself this question. Who signs their paychecks?

In industries such as entertainment and tech, there is an increasing competition amongst workers. This can sometimes lead to “godlike” worship of high performers, meaning they can basically get away with anything, including sexual harassment.

According to a 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission study, 75% of women don’t report sexual harassment due to fear of retaliation or dismissiveness. According to the same study, 95% of women who reported being sexually harassed to HR, claim that their harassers suffered no consequences.

If you have experienced unwarranted sexual advances, harassment, or assault at work, it’s best to get guidance and support from an employment lawyer first, before you take your claims to HR. This way you can be guided to prevent HR from covering up your complaints or retaliating against you.Most importantly, always submit your complaints in writing and keep a copy. As an experienced employment lawyer, I can’t tell you how many times HR covers up or misstates what verbal complaints were made to it.

What do you think are the best ways to report harassment or discrimination at work?

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