Facing any form of harassment at your workplace can be quite distressing, and you may wonder what steps to take. Some people going through workplace harassment choose to wait and see if the situation will improve, but it only gets worse in most cases. It is important to note that as an employee, you have legal rights, including the right not to face any form of harassment at your place of work.
Harassment can take many forms, from verbal and psychological cues to more serious sexual or physical harassment cases. Here is how to deal with workplace harassment.
Keep a record of the occurrences
It is crucial to keep a record of the instances the harassment occurs. Such records may include voice recordings or photographs, which you can later rely on as evidence if your harasser denies the claims against them.
Check your employer’s anti-harassment policy
If you are not comfortable directly confronting your harasser, you may go through the formal channels in your organization. First, ask your employer about their anti-harassment policy. In most instances, it is usually on their website or the employee handbook, but the HR department may assist with that. If such a policy exists, follow the steps in escalating your harassment to the relevant authority.
If the policy does not exist, you may inform your supervisor or your harasser’s supervisor and seek intervention.
The law protects you from retaliation
When you report harassment at your workplace, the law protects you against any form of retaliation by the organization in question. This may include negative action such as discrimination, a salary cut or even termination following your harassment complaint.
Can you file an external complaint?
Yes, you can. Should you feel that your organization did not address the matter adequately, you may reach out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or your state’s fair employment agency and file a complaint. In addition, if you intend to sue your employer for workplace harassment, you have to file a complaint to the EEOC.
Harassment at the workplace can drain you mentally and physically, which is why it is necessary to be aware of the options at your disposal. Your peace of mind should always come first, especially at your place of work.