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How do I file an EEOC charge of sexual harassment?

About a month ago, this blog discussed the time limits involved in filing a claim for sexual harassment with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is often the first step to take when an employee believes that he or she has suffered illegal sex discrimination, or has been sexually harassed at work. But, apart from when a claim has to be filed, how does one go about the filing itself?

First, there is an EEOC office in Oklahoma City at which individuals may appear in person to file claims. This can be done between 8:30 am and 3:00 pm on weekdays. If one cannot appear in person, however, there are other ways to file a charge. There is a toll-free telephone number, or you can fill out a form online.

Everyone who wants to file a charge, regardless of how it is initiated, is screened by an EEOC employee to determine if the claim falls into the category of claims that the EEOC is legally allowed to enforce. This screening will involve the commission employee getting information about the timing, the place and the basic details of your claim to determine if it meets EEOC's requirements. If it does, you will be informed of the way you should proceed with the filing of the charge and what you can expect. If it doesn't, EEOC will attempt to provide you with information regarding how you might go about receiving assistance.

It is important to remember that sexual harassment does not have to be strict quid pro quo of benefits in return for sexual activity. Generalizations made about a person's gender, unwelcome comments regarding appearance or body parts, or any other behavior that creates a hostile work environment may be covered under the law. Anyone who has questions about their specific situation and whether what they have experienced is illegal harassment or discrimination, may want to consider contacting an experienced Oklahoma employment lawyer.

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