Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What to do if it's happened - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What to do if it's happened to you

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All this week we are reprising a series on Sexual Harassment in the workplace, with updated information on what you can do if it happens to you. (See that series here: )

According to the Illinois Department of Human Rights:

1.) Let the harasser know you're offended and want the behavior to stop.

2.) Write down what happened to you, when it happened, who was there, and what was said. Keep records of subtle or overt job or education related promises or threats.

3.) Tell peers you trust. Often the person harassing you may be bothering others. Or, those witnesses may be willing to testify on your behalf later.

4.) Though not necessary, report the incident to your supervisor. If that person is the harasser, report it to their supervisor, and also report the incident to the affirmative action officer and/or human resources.

5.) If the sexual harassment conduct is criminal in nature, report the incident to law enforcement authorities immediately.

As part of these steps, Shaneese Pie, the Superintendent of Human Resources with the Peoria Park District, recommends you also check your employer's policy, which will outline ways you can report it internally.
"If a person feels they've been sexually harassed they should definitely follow the policy. But, if they find the policy is not serving them, the way that it should, every policy gives you the opportunity to go outside of the organization to file a complaint with the Illinois department of human rights of the EEOC," explains Pie..

You can file a charge with those organizations in person, by mail, over the phone or online. But, there is a time limit.
 In most cases you have 180 days from the date you believe the harassment last took place to make a report.

If you have questions or need someone to talk to, the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria also provides free, confidential counseling for victims of sexual harassment and, sexual assault.  You can call the center's 24/7 hotline at 1-800-559-SAFE.

Other numbers:
Illinois Dept. of Human Rights: 1-800-662-3942
EEOC: 1-800-669-4000

More information on the definition of sexual Harassment:

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects Illinois employees and students from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature

1.) It's made or implied as a condition of employment.

2.) It's affects decisions about your employment, whether you submit to or reject it

3.) It interferes with your job performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment

Sexual harassment in education includes:

1.)  Unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors
2.) Can come from an executive, administrative staff or faculty member
3.) Sexual conduct that substantially interferes with the student's educational performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational environment.

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