One thing that many people don’t understand is that sexual harassment isn’t allowed in your workplace no matter who it comes from. Whether it is a client, coworker, third-party vendor, your employer or someone else, you have a right to be free of sexual harassment from that person.
If you are harassed by a client in your workplace, it’s time to let your management team, human resources department or employer know. Many employers will take action to prevent that kind of harassment from happening again, such as by letting the client know that they were inappropriate or giving you a different client rather than putting you with them again. Other employers may drop the client completely.
What can you expect if you report that a client has harassed you on the job?
If you report that a client has sexually harassed you, you should expect a supervisor or your employer to take some corrective action. Depending on the severity of the harassment, that corrective action could come in one of many forms, but it should not negatively impact you as the victim.
For example, it may be reasonable to move the client to another employee to maintain the relationship but prevent further conflicts, but it would not be reasonable to do this and then not give you another client in their place. Similarly, moving you to another department or position could be seen as a punishment rather than corrective action.
What should you do at the first sign of sexual harassment?
If someone is sexually harassing you, it is important for you to take immediate steps to stop the behavior. The first thing to do is to tell the individual that you don’t appreciate their advances. For example, if a client asks you out and you turn them down, they should not continue to bother you with that behavior.
If the behaviors continue, you need to inform your employer right away. That way, they can intervene and help keep you safe as you work with your clients. If they won’t take action, then you may be able to seek legal support.