Woman who was sexually harassed at work shares her story

Woman who was sexually harassed at work shares her story

WICHITA FALLS, TX (KAUZ) - Workplace sexual harassment is in the spotlight after the biggest cable news host Bill O'Reilly was fired on Wednesday.

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, there were 12,860 sex-based harassment allegations filed in 2016.

Arianna Davis said she has experienced sexual harassment at work first-hand.

"It just made me literally sick to my stomach," said Davis. "Honestly every time I saw him I would just be so uncomfortable to the point of where I just didn't even want to go into work."

When it first happened Davis did not know how to react.

"It made me feel helpless in the sense that maybe it wasn't that big of a deal, and I was just making it out to be a big deal," said Davis.

She said she tried to blow it off and think of it as a one-time thing, but that was not the case. Soon she could no longer ignore it.

"When it got to the point to be physical touch, that's when I brought it to my managers," said Davis.

However, she was worried no one would take her side because her co-worker was good at his job and well respected by management.

Penny Miller, the President of Venture HRO a human resource consultant company out of Wichita Falls, said this is not unusual.

"A lot of times the person who is the abuser, the harasser, is often times one of their top employees," said Miller.

Miller adds no matter who is doing the harassing if you become a victim, speak up.

She said to first let the person know they are being inappropriate.

"A lot of times the person who says or does something really doesn't know what they said or what they've done would be objectionable," said Miller. "Ideally what I would like to see happen is just to tell them I don't like that and here's why."

If that does not work she said to go to your HR department or boss. She adds a lot of people do not do this because they are worried they will be fired.

"Your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for doing that," said Miller. "But I'm not saying that doesn't happen."

Miller said this issue is not one of the past, and she believes there are a couple of things that need to be done.

"We need to do the appropriate training, we need to hold people to standards and we need to take complaints seriously.

Arianna Davis said for those who are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace to talk to someone about it.

"You're not over thinking it, if it's bugging you then it matters," said Davis. 

If you do not want speak to someone at your company Miller recommends contacting the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She said these issues need to be addressed because sexual harassment can lead to abuse.

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