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Coping With Sexual Harassment


Sexual harassment has serious emotional effects on its victims. It can also damage a victim's career. If you bring a sex harassment case in court, getting through it and rebuilding your career afterward may seem almost as difficult as the harassment itself. An attorney with experience handling sexual harassment cases can offer suggestions and resources to help you deal with the effects of your case.

Your Self-Esteem

Many victims of sexual harassment suffer damage to their self-esteem. They often feel powerless and may even believe that they share some blame for the harassment. Some victims also feel stigmatized, that no one believes them or that no one thinks what they endured is serious. You are not the only one, however, who has been a victim of this type of conduct. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) receives thousands of new charges of sexual harassment each year. Around 15 percent of those complaints are filed by men. This figure counts only those who complain to the EEOC; it does not count those who make their complaints only to a state agency or whose complaints never reach any legal forum.

Having the support of others who have gone through the same thing can go a long way toward healing your emotional injuries. A support group, whether it is one that meets face to face or online, can provide you the assistance of others who understand your situation.

Rebuilding Your Career

Federal law prohibits employers from taking any retaliatory action against an employee who complains of sexual harassment or brings a sexual harassment case before a court or an administrative agency. Nevertheless, retaliation does occur. Often, it is difficult to prove a connection between the harassment complaint and the retaliatory action.

An employee who files a lawsuit for sexual harassment may not want to stay with the employer. The employee may have no choice but to quit because the employer refuses to remedy the situation; this is known as a "constructive discharge." The employee may also feel uncomfortable staying in the same place after making a harassment claim. If changing jobs seems like your best option, you should know that new employers may not discriminate against you because you have made a complaint of sexual harassment in the past.

For some people who have suffered sexual harassment, the biggest obstacle to rebuilding a career is a lack of self-confidence. While a support group can be helpful, you also may consider seeking career counseling to help you formulate new job strategies.

Speak to an Employment Law Attorney

The aftermath of a sexual harassment claim may seem as difficult as what led to the claim. There are, however, legal protections and many resources available to help you resume a normal existence. An attorney from The Amlong Firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, can advise you on your legal protections and help you find the resources you need.

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