How should your employer handle your sexual harassment report?

There are both Colorado and federal laws on the books prohibiting sexual harassment in the workplace. These should be highlighted in your employee handbook that your employer gave you when they hired you to work for them.

If you’ve suffered sexual harassment on the job, then you should report it to your employer. You may be concerned about doing so because you don’t know how the investigation process will unfold once you do.

To whom should you report sexual harassment?

You should go to either your supervisor, the human resources office, or a management team member at your company to report what occurred. It’s best to go directly to them and report the incident verbally instead of sending an email. There’s no guarantee that your employer has a secure email account, and an unintended recipient may unexpectedly gain access to the communication.

Your employer should document your complaints without laying blame or expressing any opinions about the situation. They should instead notify you that they will investigate the matter. Your employer should take the necessary steps to prove or disprove the allegations you’ve made while maintaining the confidentiality of the situation. You can expect your employer to meet with the alleged perpetrator of the sexual harassment to get their side of the story as well as any witnesses you name.

Most employers will keep their employees abreast of the different stages of their investigation, including whether they take disciplinary action against the perpetrator or close the case after being unable to substantiate the allegations.

While many employers follow the protocol outlined above in handling sexual harassment allegations, countless others don’t investigate them or retaliate against the accuser, exposing themselves to potential legal liability in doing so. You owe it to yourself to learn more about your rights in reporting sexual harassment and what to expect after you do. This insight may help you determine whether it’s necessary to take outside legal action, especially if things don’t go as they should.

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