It can be emotionally devastating to experience mistreatment in one’s workplace, and a North Carolina employee may not know how he or she should react. Sexual harassment is unacceptable and illegal, yet many victims are reluctant to speak out. Part of their reluctance is due to the fact that they assume no one will believe them. This is why it is critical for witnesses to speak out and support the account of the victim.
Keeping an employee’s dignity
Employees often feel uncomfortable speaking out about sexual harassment and other types of mistreatment they experience in the workplace. Witnesses bear an important responsibility, and their accounts can make a significant difference in the outcome for the victim. If an employee witnesses inappropriate behavior in the workplace, an important step is to speak to human resources or to the designated liaison.
It may also be helpful to speak with the victim to see if that individual needs support in any way. Victims may be more likely to report inappropriate treatment when there is someone who can validate the report. Witnesses of sexual harassment also have protection, and they should not experience retaliation for speaking out.
The rights of victims and witnesses
Victims of and witnesses to sexual harassment have the right to seek justice and fight to make the mistreatment stop. It may be helpful to speak with an experienced attorney regarding the specific legal options available if a witness experiences retaliation. Seeking legal guidance may help one protect his or her rights at every step.