You attend your work every day and complete your work to the best of your ability. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as one or more people give you a hard time. Workplace harassment is defined as improper or offensive conduct, comments or displays that can involve threats or intimidation directed towards someone else.
If this sounds similar or identical to what you are facing at your workplace, although it may be difficult or cause anxiety, you owe it to yourself to do something about it. Below are tips on combating workplace harassment and ways that you can put a stop to it once and for all.
1. Ask him/her to stop
When you are the victim of workplace harassment, your first step should be asking the person to stop the comments or actions that are offensive. In doing so, you will be giving them the benefit of the doubt because he/she may not even be aware that what they are doing is wrong and bothers you.
The best way to ask the person harassing you to stop is doing so one-on-one. That way, you will not be embarrassing him/her in front of others. If you ask the offender to stop, he/she may realize that his/her actions are wrong and actually stop. If the behaviour does not stop, you then have grounds to escalate the situation.
2. Keep logs
When you are the victim of harassment you always hope that if you ask the person harassing you to stop, the behaviour will cease. However, in reality, this is not always the case. In these instances, it will benefit you to keep records of exact situations when the harassment occurred. That way you will have correct information if you need to approach your Human Resources (HR) department, management, or if you need to file a lawsuit.
As soon as you realize that what you are enduring constitutes harassment, start to keep a record of the offending behaviour. Include places, times, the behaviour, and any witnesses to what transpired. Such information will be helpful for HR or management to take action or a judge in a court of law to make a judgement as you will have evidence to the harassment that you were the victim of.
3. Approach management and/or HR
Approaching management and your company’s HR department when you are the victim of harassment can be effective. This is because these are the parties that can take measures to make it stop, such as reprimands, demotions, and dismissals.
After it becomes evident that the harassment you are experiencing will not stop despite your best efforts, approaching management and/or HR is recommended. These parties want a trouble-free and welcoming work environment where people can perform their duties without issues. They also know that failing to address the issue could result in a lawsuit. As a result, management and the HR department can be helpful in combating the harassment that you face and will take appropriate action.
4. File a lawsuit
Despite your efforts to combat workplace harassment, it continues and it has come to a point where you find it unbearable. As a result, you have quit because management has done nothing to address the issue. In this instance, it would be necessary to file a lawsuit for punitive damages and compensation as the result of the harassment you experienced.
If you decide to file a lawsuit against the company for workplace harassment, it is crucial that you hire an attorney because chances are you do not know employment law and this is your first time going through a legal process in this area. An employment lawyer can review your case, assist in gathering evidence, and represent your interests when dealing with the company. If an offer to settle is made, an attorney can review it, take into account your needs and what you deserve, and make recommendations for you to either accept, reject, our make a counter-offer.