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Are sexual harassment complaints confidential? 

You may have recently experienced sexual harassment at your place of work. It could’ve started with a few unwanted comments that eventually escalated to inappropriate touching, blackmail or even persistent romantic advances. So, you decided to write a harassment report. 

While you have the right to report sexual harassment when it occurs at work, you may not know if you have the right to confidentiality for your complaint. You may fear a harassment complaint may cause you workplace retaliation or embarrassment. 

Can you stay anonymous after reporting sexual harassment? Here’s what you should know:

Confidentiality may not be assured 

You may ask to stay anonymous (or go through a third party) after being sexually harassed, but you may not be guaranteed anonymity. 

Sexual harassment claims will have to go through a process before a conclusion is decided. The process may require your employer or claim handler to ask the harasser and any witnesses questions. During the investigation, your name may have to be revealed in order to gain specific information from people and move forward with the claim.

A non-disclosure agreement may offer false comfort

During the sexual harassment investigation, you may be approached with a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). This employment contract is meant to keep any information about a sexual harassment claim under a tight seal – including your name. 

An NDA can seem like a tempting offer if you want to keep yourself anonymous during an investigation, saving you tons of stress. However, NDAs may be regarded as a step backward when fighting sexual harassment. Your name can still be known with an NDA, and the sexual harassment may continue despite efforts to stop it.

If you’re a victim of sexual harassment, then you may need to know your legal options. Having your name go public could cause you irreparable damage at your workplace. Having your employee rights stripped, however, may only increase the violence against you.