GREENSBORO, N.C. -- If you've been sexually harassed or assaulted at work, what do you do next?
It can be confusing and scary to come forward, especially because it's often unclear what will happen if and when you do speak up.
WFMY News 2 talked with Human Resources experts in the Triad about your options when it comes to reporting abuse in the workplace.
How you report an issue will vary by situation.
If you've been raped or assaulted, lawyers say report it to police immediately. These are extremely serious crimes that are better handled in the courts than by an HR department.
Harassment can be harder to recognize and tough to prove. In 2016, nearly 13 thousand sexual harassment charges were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 54 percent of the claims were found to have "no reasonable case."
Mark Moser, an HR specialist with the Davidson Group, says the best way to ensure your claim is taken seriously is to document the harassment.
"The more information you have, with the time and date of things that happened. If you have texts or emails that you can present to somebody-- you certainly want to have those," Moser said. "The more evidence you have, the easier it is to make your case clear."
Moser says every company has different policies when it comes to reporting. He recommends checking your employee handbook to figure out who you should report the harassment to.
Some policies require you go to your direct supervisor, but Moser says your best bet is going straight to HR.
HR will then interview you and the person you have accused and investigate the claims.
If you aren't satisfied with how your employer handles the situation, you can always report it to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for further investigation. You can also hire a lawyer for help.
CLICK HERE for more information on how to file a charge with the EEOC.
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