I Was Sexually Assaulted at Work: What Do I Do?
Ohio employees should be able to go to work in a safe environment. Unfortunately, being assaulted at work is far too common. A recent survey indicated that sexual assault in the workplace is much more common than previously thought. A report showed that 27% of the respondents said they had survived sexual assault in the workplace. You are not alone if you have experienced sexual assault in the workplace. Knowing what steps to take next can help you protect yourself and your right to compensation.
As a sexual assault survivor, you may have a valid legal claim for compensation against your employer. Attorney Rayl Stepter of Stepter Law Office, an employment law firm, provides clients with empathetic and compassionate legal representation. He will protect your rights while helping you understand your legal options and make informed decisions. Contact Stepter Employment Law today to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Constitutes Being Sexually Assaulted at work in Ohio?
Sexual assault and sexual harassment are not the same, and it is essential to understand the differences. Sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual advances, comments, or requests for sexual favors. Being sexually assaulted at work involves sexual behavior or contact without the recipient’s explicit consent. Sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching to rape. There can be overlap–extreme forms of sexual harassment can also constitute sexual assault. If you have been a victim of sexual assault in the workplace, you may be wondering what you should do next. You can take steps to protect yourself, seek justice, and hold the perpetrator accountable for their actions.
Seek Medical Attention
One of the most important things you can do after being sexually assaulted at work is to seek medical attention. Going to the emergency room, urgent care, or doctor’s office can be excruciatingly difficult after a sexual assault. However, survivors of sexual assault need medical attention. Medical professionals can help you treat lacerations, internal bleeding, sexually transmitted diseases, and other physical trauma caused by sexual assault. Healthcare Professionals can also provide you with a rape kit.
Rape kits are forensic exams that collect important evidence, such as blood samples and DNA, after a sexual assault. Undergoing treatment can be invasive, but it is important to protect yourself physically and obtain evidence to help you hold the perpetrator accountable. If you need emotional support, contact a trusted friend or loved one who can come with you to the doctor or hospital.
Contact the Police and Report the Sexual Assault
Regardless of where sexual assault occurs, it is always a crime. Suppose you experienced sexual assault while at work. Call 911 and request that a police officer comes to your workplace. If the assault happened outside of work but it involved a co-worker or manager, it is still crucial that you contact the police immediately. Reporting the incident to local authorities immediately will help you protect your immediate safety, result in a police report, and increase the likelihood that you will be able to hold the perpetrator accountable.
If you have been sexually harassed or sexually assaulted at work, you must document every action by your employer or supervisor. Try to keep a record of everything that happened. You will need to prove your allegations down the line. Whether written or electronic, keep detailed accounts of everything that happened and any evidence supporting your claims.
You should also document all your actions when filing a sexual assault complaint with your employer. Document all your employer’s actions in response to your complaint. Finally, keep all your medical records and write down all the symptoms you’re experiencing. You should also keep track of all the days you missed from work due to your injuries and mental health symptoms.
After a sexual assault occurs at your workplace, you must notify the human resources department and your managers. Filing an incident report as soon as possible helps protect other potential victims from suffering further harm. It can also provide evidence that you can use later when pursuing compensation. Unfortunately, not all workplaces take sexual assault claims seriously. They may try to delay addressing your claim, pretend like it never happened, or outright deny that it happened. For this reason, speaking to an attorney soon after the incident can help you protect yourself.
Attorney Rayl Stepter can help you navigate the process of notifying your employer. He can also help you complete and submit the sexual assault report. When employers know that an attorney is representing a victim, they are more likely to take the claim seriously. Attorney Stepter is prepared to hold employers accountable and ensure his clients are protected in the early stages of the case.
Reach Out for Support
After obtaining medical treatment and ensuring that you are physically safe, it is wise to surround yourself with supportive friends and family members. Survivors of sexual assault often feel a wide range of emotions. Try to validate the emotions you are feeling and have compassion for yourself. You may be feeling anxiety, depression, or even dissociation. Allowing loved ones you trust to help you is especially important during this stage.
Seek Help for Your Mental Health
Sexual assault survivors benefit significantly from working with a qualified mental health provider. Seeking treatment from a counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist can help you process the trauma better. Mental health professionals can also help you with anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms that develop after an assault. Consider reaching out for low-cost or free mental health services in your area if cost is a concern. Know that you are not alone and that these feelings and symptoms are common.
Contact an Attorney if you have been sexually assaulted at work
Every employee deserves to work in an environment free from sexual assault. Unfortunately, sexual harassment occurs regularly in Ohio workplaces. Navigating the claims process after a workplace sexual assault can be stressful and confusing, especially for survivors trying to heal and recover. If you have been the victim of sexual assault in the workplace, you are not alone. Attorney Rayl Stepter offers compassionate and aggressive representation at every step of the process. Contact us today to schedule a case evaluation and learn more about your rights.
Reference workplace violence
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