Respect should be a given in any situation, but workplace harassment is absolutely uncalled for. Someone making inappropriate advances or addressing you in a manner meant to humiliate is demonstrating behaviors that should never be condoned. These are four steps to immediately take after workplace harassment.
Consider What Happened
Ponder for a moment if what has happened has made you feel uncomfortable in a way that wasn’t an accident. Circumstances can vary from one harassment case to another. Even if you think the offense might’ve been deliberate, you should still tell the other person that it makes you uncomfortable. Speak to them in a respectful tone that lets them know how you’ve been offended and what civility in the workplace looks like. If there’s been a pattern of mistreatment, you should go right to someone who’s ranked above both of you.
File a Complaint
Once you’ve collected yourself and have determined that you’ve been harassed, you need to file a complaint. See what your company’s specific procedure is regarding instances of harassment. Your human resources department is the best place to go for this information. Before you file a complaint, make sure you have all the facts you need. If it took place around others, you might ask them to file witness reports.
Talk to Your Supervisor
You should bring this matter up with your supervisor or any other appropriate party. Knowing about any things that are contributing to a hostile work environment can help them to be better leaders. You might speak to them in private or email them for more security. If your supervisor is harassing you, you should reach out to someone like a corporate representative.
Talk to a Lawyer
While you shouldn’t run to file a lawsuit right away, it’s still good to consult with a lawyer who specializes in harassment cases. Talk to a legal expert about what happened, what your company’s response has been, and whether you need to take any further action. If the business has tried to make a bogus claim that gaslights you, you might need to hire a lawyer. This could be someone with experience in criminal defense. Talk about how the harassment incident has affected your ability to work and your mental health. You should hopefully be able to reach a settlement with your employer instead of going to court.
Look for support wherever you can following workplace harassment. In addition to legal support, it’s also good to have emotional support. You shouldn’t ever feel like you’re exaggerating the pain of what you’ve experienced or that you’re in the wrong. For workplace harassment to stop happening, people need to speak out against it at every possible opportunity.
Author Bio: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. When not writing, she enjoys reading and indoor rock climbing. Find her on Google +