Talking about your experience and being open to other perspectives is the most important way to make change. Be open to other people disagreeing with you, but stick to your perspective if theirs rings false. Talk about your experience of sexual harassment as if talking about it is a gift to your listener. It is.
Below are my initial steps in how to address workplace harassment. These steps, and those to follow on this blog and in my book Career Defense 101, are intended to prepare you to talk with an attorney, should you choose to do so, and should be protected under attorney-client privilege. Providing this information does not make me your attorney, but you can use these notes to help any attorney, if you choose to talk with one. Keep in mind that if you keep a journal, calendar, or anything else written down (text messages, emails, social media messages, etc.), those are not confidential and can be turned over to your harasser if you bring a claim. If you keep a journal of your harassment and how it has affected you in order to prepare you to talk with an attorney, make sure it is clear in the journal that you are writing notes to prepare to talk with an attorney.
I have created a Personal Career Defense Toolkit for you, where you can fill these questions out yourself or create a notebook of your own and copy the questions into it. Simply email me (Meredith@ErisResolution.com) to get your copy. Please include “Toolkit” in the subject line of your email.
Make sure that wherever you write this, it includes a notice that what you write is in anticipation of talking with an attorney and pursuing a legal claim. That means it should be attorney-client or work-product privileged. Talk with an attorney in your state to get the details of what that means. This is to prepare you to talk with an attorney:
Make a list of the particular problem behaviors that you are concerned about. Be as specific as possible.
Write down what you believe is motivating these behaviors (use no more than 5 words).
List seven allies you can access to build support.
Write down what your intuition tells you about what your next step should be. Remember, your intuition can recognize a danger, but it is different than pervasive fear that keeps you stuck. What is the first thing that comes to mind?
What does the math look like for you? (What is the neutral reality of your circumstances now and what would you like your circumstances to be in the future?)
What do you want to say to people when you talk about the harassment you are experiencing?
How do you want to react if they have a negative response?
This is a selection from Career Defense 101: How to Stop Sexual Harassment Without Quitting Your Job. For a free copy of the book, visit www.CareerDefense101.com. Or you can purchase online via Amazon or Barnes & Noble (paperback $16.95, hardcover $24.95).