Des Moines, IA- Federal and state law forbid workplace sexual harassment, but that doesn’t really stop it. Each year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission receives close to 30,000 complaints of sexual harassment. If you happen to be one of those many people, you may be wondering: What can I do to stop the harassment? Who do I report to? Am I eligible for compensation?

The first thing you can do to stop sexual harassment is to directly confront your harasser. Explain to them you don’t like the inappropriate comments or touching and ask them to stop. This might do the trick and you are no longer subjected to the harassment. By confronting them, you can make certain your harasser can’t later claim you invited their behavior.

The worst thing you can do is ignore the harassment. But many people do; they just don’t want to create any problems or rock the boat. The only problem with that reasoning is that unchecked sexual harassment only gets worse; it won’t just go away on its own. And, in fact, ignoring it could just encourage a person to do it more often because they think they can get away with it. Talking about it may be hard, but you have to do something otherwise it will just continue to plague your workplace and make the environment very hostile.

It’s important to that if plan on filing a sexual harassment suit, you must report the allegations to your employer first. You can only file a suit against them if they refuse to take actions to stop the harassment.

Too many victims of sexual harassment are afraid to come forward, not because they are embarrassed or afraid of their harasser, but they are afraid their employer will punish them. This is retaliation and although it is also prohibited, it goes hand and hand with sexual harassment complaints. If you happen to be subjected to retaliation, a sexual harassment attorney will hold your employer accountable.

If you’ve confronted your harasser, the next step is to file a formal complaint with your employer’s human resources department. They must be given the opportunity to address the problem and take corrective actions when necessary. If they refuse to do anything about your harassment and it continues then it is time for you to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission so they can investigate and validate your claims. If allegations are true, the EEOC will take corrective actions against your employer if you decide to retain your own attorney.

At this point, you can choose whether you want to pursue your sexual harassment claim with the help of the EEOC or a private sexual harassment attorney. When making this decision, it is important to note that the federal government puts caps settlement amounts in sexual harassment civil cases. A private attorney however can fight for and secure a much larger settlement amount on your behalf.