When an individual is not a victim of sexual harassment but has witnessed it occur within their place of employment, there are a few recommendations the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) provides to those who are looking to address the misconduct. Those recommendations are shared down below:
- Create a distraction. If an individual sees a co-worker being treated inappropriately, they can become a distraction in an effort to get it to stop. Sometimes, a harasser may retreat when they know their behavior may have been witnessed by someone else.
- Speak with the victim. If an employee doesn’t feel comfortable stepping in and becoming a distraction, they can also speak privately with the individual whom they witnessed being harassed. In an effort to prevent any other incidents from happening, RAINN recommends they offer to accompany them when they have to meet with the harasser or even walk them to their vehicle if that is when the harassment tends to occur.
- Bring the incident to the attention of someone higher up. Another option an employee who witnessed an act of sexual harassment has is to report it to a manager, supervisor, or even their human resources (HR) department. While these individuals/departments should be able to address the incident, there are times when they may not take the matter seriously. In this case, the witness or the victim may need to consider reporting it to a department that oversees HR.
- Enlist the help of a friend or employee. Sometimes, an individual who witnessed an act of sexual harassment may not want to intervene alone. Therefore, they might want to consider asking a friend or co-worker to help them address it.
It is important for an individual who has witnessed sexual harassment occurring at work to only intervene when they feel comfortable and safe to do so. In the event an individual would prefer not to get directly involved and would instead, like to report it to an agency that is equipped to handle sexual harassment complaints, they can contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC does accept sexual harassment complaints which can be filed in the form of a Charge of Discrimination.
When an employee witnesses sexual harassment or overhears negative comments being made about a particular sex, they do have the option of reporting it or contacting a North Carolina sexual harassment attorney if the behavior creates an offensive or hostile work environment. In the event an employee has been sexually harassed by an employer or a co-worker, they are encouraged to bring their issue to the attention of a NC sexual harassment lawyer.
To find a lawyer who has a firm understanding of the employment laws in North Carolina that protect employees from workplace harassment, contact USAttorneys.com. USAttorneys.com has helped employees in Charlotte, Raleigh, and Greensboro locate a sexual harassment attorney and can help anyone else in NC who is in need of legal advice or guidance.