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What Should I Do if I’m Sexually Harassed at Work in Columbus, Ohio?

— March 1, 2022

Many victims wonder whether they should file a lawsuit rather than go through the complaint procedure.

Columbus, OH – If you’re sexually harassed at work, you need to stand up for your rights as any form of discrimination, including sex-based discrimination, is against Ohio and federal laws. This is easier said than done, especially when you’re already dealing with the emotional turmoil and mental anguish caused by the harassment you’re subjected to. Also, this is not a battle you can fight alone. You need allies so you should reach out to the best Columbus sexual harassment lawyers you can find. 

They can explain the laws to you and the procedure to follow, but you’re also going to need their help when it comes to gathering the evidence you need to support your claims.

How to report sexual harassment in Columbus?

There are basically two types of sexual harassment in the workplace. You have quid pro quo cases, when your supervisor or manager asks for sexual favors. If you’re being harassed by your coworkers, this is a case of hostile work environment.

The first thing you need to do is tell your harassers their conduct is offensive to you and they should stop. If you don’t do that and pretend you didn’t hear their offensive comments or you ignore their purposefully brushing against you, they might later claim they thought you enjoyed their jokes and welcomed their advances. 

Your next step is to inform your employer of the harassment you’re subjected to. Talk to some experienced Ohio sexual harassment lawyers and let them help you prepare the notification. It is important that you notify your employer in writing and get them to acknowledge they have received your complaint.

According to the law, an Ohio employer is liable for damages if you are harassed by a supervisor or manager. When you are harassed by one or more coworkers, the employer cannot be held liable unless they were informed of the problem and given the opportunity to take disciplinary measures against those responsible. 

If the employer doesn’t do anything, your sexual harassment lawyers will help you file a complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (OCRC) or, if they consider it more suitable, they may advise you to take it to federal level and complain to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

How can I prove sexual harassment in Ohio?

You will be asked to provide a written account of all the offensive incidents. Try to be very specific, mentioning the date of each incident, what happened, and who was present and might be able to corroborate your story.

If you are subjected to verbal harassment, your lawyers will advise you to record any offensive joke or comment, as well as any request for sexual favors. The law in Ohio allows you to record conversations without the other person’s knowledge.

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

If you received offensive materials via email or messaging apps, make sure to save every single one of them to your device. Likewise, if your coworkers display sexually-explicit materials, such as posters or cartoons around the office, take pictures.

Your lawyers will submit your complaint and all the supporting evidence. They will also represent you during the investigation. It is essential to have good lawyers on your side as your employer will probably have legal representation as well.

Many victims wonder whether they should file a lawsuit rather than go through the complaint procedure. In Ohio you cannot file a sexual harassment lawsuit if you haven’t filed a complaint with the OCRC first. The OCRC will try to negotiate an agreement, but if that doesn’t work out they will issue you a notice to sue which allows you to seek justice in a court of law.

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