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The news in Tennessee and around the country has been filled with reports of powerful figures who have allegedly engaged in sexual harassment. These reports beg the question of how prevalent sexual harassment in the workplace truly is. Regardless of how frequently it might occur, it is against federal law.

Employers should recognize that for every report of sexual harassment that is made, there are likely many other incidents that have occurred and that have not been reported. Employers should not think that sexual harassment could never happen in their workplaces. Instead, they should take proactive steps to prevent it from happening and to promptly address it when it does.

Employers should have strong sexual harassment policies and programs in place that clearly outline complaint procedures and include regular training initiatives. Employees should be encouraged to report sexual harassment. When it is reported, the employers should promptly investigate the allegations and take action if it has occurred. It is best if companies have several different methods of reporting sexual harassment so that employees are not forced to complain to the supervisors who have harassed them.

Employees who have been the victims of harassment should file complaints according to their companies’ outlined reporting procedures. If no action is taken by the employer, the victims might want to discuss what happened to them with experienced employment lawyers. In some cases, employers retaliate against workers who file sexual harassment complaints. Retaliating against workers for filing complaints is also illegal and may form the basis for an additional complaint. Lawyers may help clients to gather the evidence that they might need to support their claims. They may then assist them with filing discrimination charges with the EEOC.