Too Late To Report Sexual Harassment?

Question:

I was harassed by a female at my work for over a year, I rebuffed her comments and innuendos three times without telling management. Then she got promoted and continued to pressure me into an “involvement” which lasted about a very short time until I said enough is enough. I was rife with guilt to ay the least.

She now is having an “involvement” with another supervisor and my other co-workers are quite aware of what is going on and telling me about their concerns. Can I sill report harassment and also share my concern over the inappropriate behaviors of this female without retaliation from management?

Signed,

Concerned


Answer:

Dear Concerned:

From a legal perspective, you should not be retaliated against for reporting what you considered to be sexual harassment, even though time has passed. You are protected by law if you can show that happens.

However, that does not mean it won’t happen. It just means you might have legal or civil recourse if you are retaliated against for reporting sexual harassment.

You may not be retaliated against. In fact, organizationally, I would think higher levels would want to know about such a situation. Although I would think you should be prepared for having it viewed as being a jealousy issue–you didn’t complain until you thought she was involved with someone else.

If you give the names of employees who are aware of the current situation you can at least show that others are aware and disturbed about it. If you have reason to believe you will be retaliated against, you may want to ask an attorney about it ahead of time. But, until you give your organization a chance to deal with the problem, you don’t know what they will do.

Best wishes as you decide about this. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what you do and what is the result.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.