If an employee is being sexually harassed at work, the Utah Office of Administrative Rules recommends they document the incident, continue attending work, and identify any potential witnesses who can attest to their allegations. The Utah Office of Administrative Rules also suggests that the individual follows these steps:
- File an oral or written complaint of sexual harassment. This can be filed with an immediate supervisor, a supervisor from a different division, or the employee’s human resources (HR) department. If an employee wants to keep a record of the complaint process, they should start by filing a written complaint rather than an oral complaint. Once a supervisor or another party has been made aware that a potential sexual harassment incident has occurred, they should take immediate action to address it.
- The person or department assigned to handle harassment complaints should conduct an investigation. In order for an employer or even the HR department to decide whether the allegations that are being made are valid, they must conduct an investigation into the incident.
- Findings from the investigation should be disclosed.
What does sexual harassment look like?
Although many individuals assume that sexual harassment must involve physical contact such as an employer forcing themselves onto an employee or touching them inappropriately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Although unwanted sexual advances are one example of sexual harassment, there are plenty of other types of behavior that also fit into the definition of what sexual harassment is. Some of these include:
- Comments of a sexual nature. These can be made about a specific person or offensive remarks about a specific gender. It is important for individuals to understand that simple teasing that does not interfere with work or create a hostile or offensive work environment may not be considered as a form of sexual harassment.
- Sending sexually explicit photos or text messages. Employers should not be sending employees text messages or photos that are sexually explicit. This not only puts an employee in an uncomfortable position, but it can also create an offensive environment for them to work in.
- Unwelcome sexual jokes. If an employer or someone else in the workplace makes sexual jokes about a worker or their gender and it interferes with their ability to work, this may constitute as a form of sexual harassment.
Now, if an employee in Utah believes they are a victim of sexual harassment and they (1) are afraid to bring their complaints to their supervisor’s attention, or (2) filed a complaint and it went unaddressed, they can always contact a Utah sexual harassment lawyer for legal advice. If an attorney determines an employee’s employer mishandled their complaint or should be held financially liable for the harm caused, they will help an employee take the necessary steps to address the problem.
To find a sexual harassment lawyer in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, or any other area within the State of Utah, contact USAttorneys.com for help.