Hudson, NJ– If you are being sexually harassed you may be aware that you should notify your employer of the behavior but you may not know what your employer’s responsibilities are beyond that. Our team of sexual harassment lawyers will discuss the steps your employer must take if you’ve been sexually harassed by a coworker.

If a coworker has touched you inappropriately, made a comment about your body, or tells a sexual joke, you should confront them first and tell them point blank: Stop! In most cases, this will put an end to the sexual harassment. Sometimes people, in spite of their training, don’t realize that what they are doing makes you feel uncomfortable.

If that doesn’t work and the harassment continues your next course of action should be to file a formal complaint. Once you do that it is your employer’s responsibility to take steps to stop the harassment.

Their first step should be to launch an investigation which can be done in-house or a third party like a sexual harassment lawyer. Sexual harassment and workplace discrimination cases generally pit one person’s word against another’s, so an investigation is critical. The investigator should speak with the accuser, the accused and any coworkers who may have witnessed the behavior.

After their investigation, your employer has the responsibility to punish the offender appropriately. In some cases, disciplinary action like a write-up or an unpaid suspension may be enough to correct the inappropriate behavior. In bad cases, where the sexual harassment is repeated and pervasive and continues despite disciplinary actions, then an employer may have no choice to other than to fire the offending employee.

Employers also have the responsibility to protect any filing a workplace harassment or discrimination claim from retaliation. Instead of taking action against the harasser, they blame the victim and punish them for rocking the boat. A sexual harassment victim can lose their benefits, denied promotions or even fired for making a formal complaint. Sometimes retaliation doesn’t come from an employer, it comes from coworkers who make have solidarity with the harasser. An employer should do everything in their power to avoid any form of retaliation.

Those are your employer’s responsibilities if you file a sexual harassment complaint. An employer also has the responsibility to develop a sexual harassment policy that clearly outlines what sexual harassment is and how a victim can report any incidents. An employer should also have sexual harassment training for all new hires and should hold yearly training for all employees as a refresher.

Unfortunately, many employers don’t live up to those responsibilities and they do nothing to stop sexual harassment or punishing the harasser. In these cases, the victim may have grounds to file a sexual harassment lawsuit and seek compensation for their loss of wages and emotional distress. USAttorneys can connect victims with a sexual harassment attorney in Hudson, New Jersey to help them build their claim and recover the compensation they deserve.