If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment, you will want to notify your employer and file a complaint with them. Your employer cannot retaliate against you, although some do, for reporting the alleged harassment. If these are the circumstances you are currently facing, it is highly recommended that you contact a Houston, TX sexual harassment attorney who can help you. Aside from notifying your employer, you also have the right to file a charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to complain about the harassment you experienced.
How do you do this?
In order to file a complaint with the EEOC regarding an act of sexual harassment, you will need to file a charge for employment discrimination. There is a strict timeline you must adhere to otherwise you risk not having your complaint investigated by the EEOC. The deadline is either 180 days or 300 days depending on where you work, however, the EEOC says that “the 180-calendar-day filing deadline is extended to 300-calendar days if a state or local agency enforces a state or local law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis.”
Now, there are two ways you can file your charge, online or in person.
If you want to file your charge with the EEOC online, you can do so using their Public Portal. Now, in order to use the online portal, you must first answer five general questions that will help the EEOC determine if they are the appropriate agency that can help you. After you answer the questions, you will then be given the option of submitting an inquiry. This is the first step in the process of filing a charge. Once the EEOC receives your information and reviews it, they will determine how they will be able to help you and provide you with the next steps you must follow to formally file your charge.
Filing in Person
You also have the option of scheduling an appointment at an EEOC field office for an interview where you will be given the opportunity to discuss your complaints with an EEOC staff member. During your interview, you will be able to share your experience which, in turn, will help the staff member determine if filing a charge is the right decision for you. If you live in Houston and wish to file your charge in person, you can do so at the Houston field office which is located at:
Mickey Leland Building
1919 Smith Street, 6thFloor
Houston, TX 77002
If the EEOC staff member determines that their agency is the right place for you to file your charge, they will help you prepare a charge.
Although the EEOC is one way to report sexual harassment, it is important to remember that the staff member you work with isn’t going to be able to provide you with any sort of legal advice as they aren’t an attorney. With that in mind, just because you choose to file a charge with the EEOC doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consult with a Houston, TX sexual harassment lawyer. There are plenty of other ways you can hold an individual accountable for their inappropriate behavior and our lawyers are the professional to provide you with this information.
Now, if you are someone who thinks they are the victim of sexual harassment yet aren’t sure whether they should meet with an attorney or file a charge with the EEOC, here are a few facts for you to consider that may be able to help you determine whether you are a victim and how you want to handle the matter.
Important Facts Regarding Workplace Sexual Harassment
- A victim and/or their harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex. A harasser can be a male or female regardless of what your gender is.
- The “harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.”
- The victim does not have to be the person who experienced the harassment, rather, the EEOC says “they could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.”
- The harasser’s conduct must be “unwelcome.”
- The EEOC says that “although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious,” harassment becomes an illegal act “when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”
Now, if you have any more questions regarding workplace sexual harassment or wish to discuss your concerns with one of our Houston, TX sexual misconduct attorneys, don’t hesitate to contact USAttorneys.com and we will connect you with a legal professional who can help you.