How to take Action Against Workplace Harassment<br />
How to take Action Against Workplace Harassment

How to take Action Against Workplace Harassment

Harassment in the workplace is nothing new, but recent events have brought the subject back to the forefront. Did you know that ninety percent of workplace harassment is never officially reported? What can you do if you want to take action? Here are the steps on how to take action against workplace harassment.

Identifying the types of harassment

Harassment at work can include the following:

– inappropriate jokes,
– physical and/or verbal intimidation,
– slurs,
– sharing offensive pictures,
– name calling,
– physical threats,
– ridicule,
– insults,

Sexual harassment can include:

– unwelcome sexual advances,
– requests for sexual favors,
– other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Make use of company resources.

Begin by checking your employee handbook. Your company may have an Equal Employment Opportunity officer to whom you can file a complaint. If not, contact the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to speak with a counselor about your rights.

File a report asap.

You must report harassment right away. Employers must be notified or have reason to know about the harassment to be held liable in a court of law. Inform a supervisor, human resources, or the person within your organization who is designated to deal with harassment. If there are protocols for employees to follow when reporting harassment, go through over them ahead of time and make sure to follow it as closely as possible. File your report in writing or, if it is made in a meeting, follow up with a written summary. Keep copies of any written complaint you make to your employer and anything you receive from them.

Write down the details.

As soon as you experience any act of harassment, write down exactly what transpired. Include dates, places, times, and any witnesses. When you report, write down whom you reported to, what that person said, and what happened in response. Others may read this written record at some point, so be as accurate and objective as possible. Keep records at home or in some other safe place where you will have access to it in case something suddenly happens at work.

Strength in numbers.

If other employees have experienced harassment, and if they feel comfortable sharing their experience, ask them to write down and report their own incidents. Only do this if you feel comfortable sharing your experience and want to get more people involved.

Keep your own records.

Especially if you’re being harassed by a supervisor, your harasser may try to defend him- or herself by attacking your job performance. Keep copies of any records of your work performance, including performance evaluations and any memos or letters documenting the quality of your work. If you do not have copies, try to gather them (by legitimate means only). If company policy permits, review your personnel file. When you do, either make copies of relevant documents or, if that’s not allowed, take detailed notes. As with your documentation of your harassment, keep everything at home, not at your workplace or on a company computer.

Gather witnesses.

If you can do so safely, talk to other people at work who may have witnessed your harassment. You may find others who have been harassed by the same person or who would be willing to support your case.
Consider filing with the EEOC.

Especially if you’re mistrustful of your organization’s process, you can help ensure your safety and a greater chance of action by filing a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Filing with the EEOC is required before you can sue your employer, if it comes to that. Time limits apply–usually 180 days from the discriminatory act.

Ask friends and family for support.

Harassment and its aftermath can be difficult. let friends, family members, and friends know about the abuse. Talking with others can give you support and help you process everything that’s happened. You don’t have to go it alone. Standing up to workplace harassment is everyone’s responsibility. If you suspect someone else is being harassed, let the person know of your support and encourage him or her to take these steps. Don’t allow anyone to dismiss harassment as harmless or as part of the company climate.

Resources for victims

National Sexual Assault Hotline: National hotline, operated by RAINN, that serves people affected by sexual violence. It automatically routes the caller to their nearest sexual assault service provider. You can also search your local center here. Hotline: 800.656.HOPE
National Sexual Violence Resource Center: This site offers a wide variety of information relating to sexual violence including a large legal resource library.
National Organization for Victim Assistance: Founded in 1975, NOVA is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the United States as the recognized leader in this noble cause.
National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women: VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence hosts a resource library home of thousands of materials on violence against women and related issues, with particular attention to its intersections with various forms of oppression.

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