Should You Give Human Resources Your Cell Phone With Text Messages On It?

So you are in Chicago and minding your own business but the boss won't leave you alone.  He always comes by your desk and wants to talk and he seems to make excuses for talking to you about nothing.  Now he is starting to send you text messages after work and they are inappropriate.  You can tell he wants to have a sexual relationship with you and you don't wish to have one with him.  So what can you do and what steps should you take?  The first thing to remember is that under the current law in Illinois, there is absolute liability on a company for sexual harassment if the supervisor or management person is engaging in the request for a sexual relationship.

With that in mind, how can you stop it without the boss getting mad and perhaps firing you?  That is the real tightrope you have to walk.  The very first thing you need to do is save the text messages.  This is going to be your evidence that the boss is trying to have sex with you.  If you delete the messages they may be able to be retrieved later but don't count on it.  The better course of action is to just save them and not have to worry about whether you can retrieve them later on.  The second thing you should do is contact a Chicago sexual harassment lawyer who is experienced in these types of situations.  You can't beat practical advice that is tailored to the specific facts of your case.  Don't just read an article online and think you know what to do next; make the call.

What you should not do is contact human resources first and then turn your cell phone over to them--which is what they will most likely ask you to do.  If they happen to delete the text messages your evidence may be lost.  Also, the human resource department is not your friend but rather just one more department that is under the control of the top managers of the company.  They are not looking out for your best interest.  Don't be under any illusions that they are.  In some instances they may conduct a very fair and unbiased investigation and do things above board.  However, many times, they don't do what is right and they try and sweep the whole thing under the rug--along with you.

One thing you can do is print out some of the text messages and turn them into human resources so they can get an idea of what is taking place.  This will give them enough information to conduct an investigation and will show them you have some evidence.  However, it is best to let your lawyer handle this portion of the process and determine what to turn over to human resources.  These investigations can be tricky and many times cases can be settled during this phase.  But you must remember the company is not going to hand you a big pile of money just because you complained about sexual harassment.  This is where an aggressive and experienced employment lawyer can make the difference in your case.

Don't risk having negative things happen to you at work because you tried to handle the case yourself and it blew up in your face.  Turn to a professional when you have a real employment issue and then you can expect professional results.