Sexual Harassment On The Job: What To Do When You Witness It

If you see an employer sexually harass one of your co-workers on a daily basis, you may wonder if there's anything you can do about it, especially if the employer threatens to fire you if you report the harassment to the company's higher-ups. Although the person being harassed should report the abuse themselves, they may fear the outcome if they do, such as losing their job or facing ostracism. You can help your fearful co-worker by contacting a sexual harassment lawyer yourself. When you do speak to the attorney on your friend's behalf, be sure to have the following information available. 

Dates and Details of the Harassment

Reporting sexual harassment may be a difficult and disheartening task, especially if you're not the one being harassed. But if you don't speak up and report it, the harassment may affect other people at your job, because the perpetrator may harass you or someone else on job later. Although it doesn't happen in every case, a number of abusers have past histories of sexually harassing other people.

One of the things you can do to help your co-worker is record the dates and times you witness the harassment. Always keep a small writing tablet in your pocket and workable ink pen to record the incidences you witness. Be sure to jot down as much of the conversation and responses between the boss and co-worker as you can while everything's fresh in your mind.

However, to protect yourself from any immediate problems the employer may cause for you, never let the employer witness you taking notes. It's a good idea that you go to a busy location, such as a breakroom or cafeteria to compose your notes.

Names of Other Witnesses of the Harassment

Sometimes, other co-workers may witness the harassment and not say anything about it to you. The co-workers may be victims of the employer's unwelcome advances and threats as well. The next best thing you can do is speak to the employees about the harassment away from work, such as at a local bar or park.

The employees may feel more comfortable about speaking up if they know someone else is there to back them up. A number of employees don't speak up about sexually harassment, because they don't think anyone will believe them about the harassment or put an end to it if they do report it. 

Once you complete your notes, contact a sexual harassment attorney to see if they can help your co-worker. One of things you should understand is that the attorney can't take your co-worker's case unless they agree to hire the attorney themselves. The attorney will most likely contact the co-worker in private to see if they're willing to come into the office and discuss the accusations of sexual harassment in person. Your willingness to help may empower the co-worker to move forward with a case.

For more information about witnessing and reporting workplace sexual harassment, contact a law office, such as Campbell, Dille, Barnett & Smith, P.L.L.C.