What to Do if Employer Ignores Harassment Claim
In the State of California, employees are protected against harassment in the workplace. You have the right to be free from sexual harassment as well as harassment based on any other protected characteristic such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. You have the right to be free from quid pro quo harassment as well as hostile work environment harassment. If you do experience harassment in the workplace, you should report the conduct to a supervisor, Human Resources (HR), or another party designated to respond to such complaints. But what happens if you do the right thing by reporting the harassment and your employer does nothing in response? What are your options? Continue reading for a discussion of what to do when your employer ignores your harassment claim, and if you’ve faced sexual harassment, discrimination, or other unlawful treatment at your job, call an experienced Riverside workplace harassment lawyer for help.
Go Through All Steps of Escalation at Your Workplace
If you report the conduct to your supervisor and nothing happens, there might still be additional steps to take. You might need to report the conduct (and your supervisor’s inaction) to HR or other parties. Review your employer’s policies on workplace complaints and follow all appropriate steps, escalating where necessary. If you’ve taken the proper steps and filed your complaints with the proper parties and your employer still fails to act, you will need to take further steps.
Keep Copies of All Documents Along the Way
Something to keep in mind at all steps of the workplace grievance process: Keep copies of everything. Make your reports to your supervisor and/or HR in writing, and keep copies of your complaints. If they respond at all, keep copies of their responses, be they via email or printed document. Keep notes of your interactions, including the harassing conduct (time, place, perpetrator, nature of the conduct, offensive things said to you, etc.) and conversations you have with your supervisor or HR. If you receive only a verbal response from your employer, write that down as well. If there were any witnesses to your harassment, try to obtain a statement from them.
Call a California Harassment Lawyer
If you’ve gone through your employer’s official grievance process and your employer has done nothing to stop the conduct, reprimand the offender, or otherwise remedy the situation, you will likely need to take the matter outside of your workplace. Your employer has a responsibility to protect you from workplace harassment and if they refuse to do so after being notified, they can be held liable for permitting or fostering a culture of harassment.
Your first step should be to consult with an experienced workplace harassment attorney to discuss what happened and what steps you should take next. Your harassment lawyer can help you file a claim with the appropriate state agency and, if necessary, file a lawsuit against your employer.
File a Complaint With the EEOC or DFEH
If you have notified your employer of the harassment you experienced and they have done nothing in response after a reasonable amount of time has passed, you may need to file a complaint with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). Either agency will help investigate your allegations.
You can file a complaint with the agency online. They’ll likely schedule an interview with you to discuss your harassment claim, and they may ask you to share any evidence you’ve collected. They’ll conduct an investigation and they may pursue mediation with your employer. They may suggest a mediation program between you and your employer, through which the mediator will try to get you and the employer to agree on an appropriate resolution. Your attorney can assist you and represent you during the agency investigation process.
Pursue a Lawsuit
If your employer refuses to consent to mediation or investigation, or if you fail to reach an appropriate agreement with your employer to resolve the issue, you might need to take your case to court. The agency will issue you a right to sue notice, clearing the way for your attorney to file a civil claim for workplace harassment against your employer and help you pursue a proper resolution in court. Talk to an experienced employment law attorney about your case to explore your options and pursue your best route to recovery.
Call a Dedicated Employment Law Attorney for Help With a Workplace Harassment Claim
For help protecting yourself and recovering compensation after experiencing sexual harassment or a hostile work environment in Southern California, call Ochoa & Calderón to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and effective California labor and employment attorney. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.