5 Signs That My Boss Is Not Taking My Sexual Harassment Report Seriously

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A sexual harassment complaint. Sexual harassment is no joke, and there is no denying that the effects of sexual harassment are serious and enduring. Yet it is a common complaint of employees that their boss or employer is not taking their sexual harassment report seriously. Perhaps their boss is simply ignoring their complaint or failing to follow through and take action. In the worst cases, an employee’s boss actually laughs off the complaint, tells the employee to “just deal with it,” or even retaliates against the employee.

If you reported harassment and you think your boss is not taking it seriously, you should first look for definite signs that your boss is writing off your sexual harassment report. After that, your next step is to understand what your employer’s legal obligations are when it comes to dealing with sexual harassment. Finally, you should consider consulting a veteran sexual workplace discrimination attorney to help you understand if you have a case.

5 Signs That My Boss Is Not Taking Your Sexual Harassment Report Seriously

At this point, you might be asking yourself, “What are the signs that my boss is not taking my sexual harassment seriously?” If so, then you have come to the right place. Let’s examine five signs that your boss is not taking your sexual harassment report seriously.

Your Boss Blames You

After weeks or maybe months of considering whether you should make a sexual harassment report to your boss, you finally decide to take action. But rather than being supportive, your boss condescendingly tells you that it’s your fault. The exact response can take many forms:

  • “Maybe you shouldn’t have worn that dress/shirt/pair of pants”;
  • “You’re overreacting, they didn’t mean it that way”;
  • “Stop being so sensitive”;
  • “It’s really your fault for not doing X”; or
  • “It’s your problem, so go handle it yourself.”

Whatever the exact words are, this is one of the worst reactions your boss can have. Any kind of victim-blaming is an unmistakable sign that your boss is shrugging off your sexual harassment report.

Your Boss Forces You to Have a Face-to-Face Meeting With Your Harasser

Making a sexual harassment complaint is hard enough even if it is taken seriously. Most people only file a complaint after they have dealt with serious, consistent, sexual harassment. Indeed, reporting harassment is usually the last resort for many people. For obvious reasons, the last thing most sexual harassment victims want is a face-to-face meeting with their harasser. This is especially true if the harasser is a supervisor or manager. If your employer is taking your sexual harassment report seriously, they will understand this and act accordingly. If they don’t, they will take the insensitive and callous step of making you confront the harasser personally.

Your Boss Does Nothing

Sometimes, when you deliver your sexual harassment report to your supervisor, they thank you and assure you that they will take action. A week passes. Then two weeks. Then a month. Suddenly, two or three months have passed, and nothing has happened. Maybe you even still see the individual who sexually harassed you on a regular basis. Maybe they have continued to harass you. If this is the pattern, then you can be sure that you need to escalate the matter further or consult an attorney.

Your Boss Jokes About Your Sexual Harassment Report

Sexual harassment is never funny. Quite often, sexual harassment turns peoples’ lives upside down. Because of sexual harassment, you might be experiencing all kinds of negative emotional effects like guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, and embarrassment. Sexual harassment can also harm your self-esteem and self-image. And if that wasn’t enough, you can suffer all kinds of physical side effects from sexual harassment, including:

  • Depression,
  • Weight gain,
  • Headaches/migraines,
  • Weight loss,
  • Panic attacks, and
  • Insomnia.

Obviously, these are serious effects. So if your boss laughs off your complaint or pretends that it’s a big joke, then you need to escalate the matter further. Probably the best step to take if your boss acts like this is to contact a legal practitioner. Chances are, your boss will not find it as funny when they are served with a notice to appear in court.

Your Boss Retaliates Against You

This is almost certainly the worst possible outcome of making a sexual harassment complaint to your boss. Retaliation can take many forms. It can be obvious and blatant (like being demoted right after you make a sexual harassment claim). Other times, it can be much more subtle. Maybe your boss suddenly decides to move you to another office or to a different floor of the building. Perhaps they stop taking your questions in meetings and talk over you when you try to speak. Maybe your boss decides to avoid you or discipline you to “get rid of” the problem.

Oddly enough, your boss may even think that they are doing you a favor by transferring you to another department or denying you a training opportunity. After all, making that change gets you away from the harasser, right?

Whatever form it takes, retaliation is illegal. It can be grounds for a lawsuit under both federal and state law. If your boss retaliates against you, contact an employment legal matters lawyer right away.

Contact a Knowledgeable Unwanted Sexual Advances Attorney Today

If you’ve been sexually harassed at the workplace, it can feel almost overwhelming when your boss fails to take your sexual harassment report seriously.

Maybe you’ve decided to take further action. But just the prospect of suing your employer and going to court probably feels overwhelming. We know what you’re going through, and we want you to know that you do not have to fight your employer alone. Here at Smithey Law Group LLC, we have seen first-hand how much pain workplace sexual harassment can cause. We are dedicated to helping employees stand up for their rights and get the compensation they deserve.

Unlike many law firms, our lawyers are deeply familiar with every aspect of employment law. Together, we have over 150 years of experience fighting for employees. In addition, our lawyers are recognized experts in all kinds of employment matters. They have won many awards for their extensive writings on sexual harassment in the workplace. On top of that, they are regularly consulted in print and broadcast media as experts on the topic.

Once you’ve set up your initial consultation, we’ll work with you to review your options and legal rights. After that, we will fight for your rights and help you stand up to your employer. Don’t wait. Give us a call today at 410-919-2990 or contact us online.

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Joyce Smithey, a seasoned employment and labor law attorney, has over 22 years of experience representing both employers and employees in Maryland and D.C. Her practice, rooted in a deep understanding of employment law, spans administrative hearings to federal litigation. Joyce's approach is comprehensive, focusing on protecting client interests while ensuring legal compliance. A Harvard graduate, her career began in Fortune 500 companies, transitioning to law after a degree from Boston University School of Law. Joyce's expertise is recognized by numerous awards, including Maryland’s Top 100 Women. At Smithey Law Group LLC, which she founded in 2018, Joyce continues to champion employment rights, drawing on her rich background in law and business.

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