Sexual harassment is illegal in every American workplace. It doesn’t matter if the perpetrator is a supervisor or a co-worker; it's a form of gender discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
But using this law to pursue legal action against your employer is a long and confusing process.
It’s not as simple as filing a lawsuit against your employer and finding ways to prove the harassment occurred. Rather, there is a winding path that tries to get the accuser to resolve the case with their employer and come to a mutual agreement before even allowing the accuser to litigate the case in court. And when they get to court, the deck is stacked against the accuser to an extreme degree.
In short, the legal system fails victims of sexual harassment.
The process starts when an accuser files a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Walk through this flowchart to see how tangled the process is, and how difficult it can be to get justice through the current system:
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Have you filed a workplace sexual harassment complaint through the EEOC? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to share your story and complaint (Vox will not publicly identify you without your explicit consent).