Harassment of any kind has no place in the workplace. When you are belittled, bullied, yelled at or called names on a regular basis – all these can amount to workplace harassment. Harassment coming from a fellow employee is bad enough, but what happens if the offender is your supervisor, manager or actual employer? Do you have any recourse?
All employers subject to the federal anti-discrimination laws have a legal duty to provide a work environment free of insult, intimidation or ridicule based on race, religion, gender, color or country of origin. However, if you are a victim of workplace harassment, there are a number of actions you should take to safeguard your rights. These actions may help you stop the harassment and improve your work environment. Even if they do not, these steps can help you put your case together if you decide to sue for discrimination.
Here are two things you should do when you feel you are facing harassment at the workplace:
Seek audience with the offender
This may sound unpleasant. However, the first thing you need to do when facing harassment in the workplace is to confront the individual who is harassing you. Legally speaking, confronting the wrongdoer will help you prove crucial facts should you consider filing a lawsuit. Remember, during a harassment case, you will be required to prove that you did not approve of the behavior or participate in it willingly. This is especially important when you are suing for sexual harassment. If the situation does not improve after confronting the wrongdoer, be sure to put your concerns in writing.
Take the complaint to your employer
If the problem does not end after your conversation with the offender, or if you skipped the conversation altogether, you need to file a formal complaint with your employer. Again, remember to ask for a copy of your complaint. By filing a formal complaint, you are giving the employer an opportunity to investigate and address the issue internally.
Workplace harassment can gravely impact the victim’s productivity and mental health. Knowing what do when facing harassment in the workplace can help you safeguard your rights and create a healthy work environment.