Career Woman

Harassed at work? What you need to do about workplace harassment

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This guide outlines the steps and measures you need to take if you are being harassed at work in any form.

If you’re being harassed at work, it can be difficult to know what to do. You may feel like you’re stuck between a rock and a hard place, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and get the help you need.

The stress caused by sexual harassment can lead to illnesses such as depression, panic disorder and burnout syndrome. And afraid of losing their job or embarrassed to bring the case to the public, many do not take steps to resolve the problem.

In this guide, you will understand which situations make up sexual harassment in the workplace and what steps can be taken to resolve the issue with the company. Read on for more information on what to do if you’re being harassed at work.

Steps if you are harassed at work

Speak Up and Talk to Your Harasser

It takes courage to speak up when you are uncomfortable and being harassed at work. Oftentimes, the use of authority is often what allows workplace harassment to occur as those in positions of power can often act with impunity, knowing that they can get away with their actions since they are not subject to the same rules and regulations as everyone else. One common instance of abuse of authority is quid pro quo sexual harassment, where an employee is harassed at work in often being forced to give sexual favors in exchange for job benefits.

Many employees find it difficult to speak up about this type of harassment because the offender can manipulate the situation or statement of the victim against them. If you find yourself in this situation of being  harassed at work, a quid pro quo attorney can help you build a strong case against the offending party. Note that only one instance of quid pro quo sexual harassment is needed to file a lawsuit. Also, it is illegal for your employer to fire or take measures against you for filing a lawsuit.

The only ways this harassment can stop is by giving itself due value and respecting it, or, taking legal action. Moral and/or sexual harassment are serious and harmful to the victim’s psychological health and NO, NOT worth it, just to secure a job. The legal route is not only to ‘get justice’ from the hierarchical superior, or in the case of sexual harassment that has already happened, but as a preventive/protective measure.

If the harassment is coming from your boss or someone else in a position of power, it’s best to approach them. It might be intimidating, but they likely don’t want the negative press of being named in a lawsuit. If they are committed to stopping the harassment right away, there is no need for this step. However, if nothing changes despite their promise to change their behavior, then you may have to take more extreme measures to stop being harassed at work.

Talk to someone you trust

Harassment can be a sensitive topic to open up at times. It can be helpful to talk to someone about what’s going on. This could be a friend, family member, or therapist. Talking openly and honestly about your experiences can help you process them and may even give you some ideas on how to deal with the situation.

Document everything when harassed at work

Keep a record of all incidents of harassment. In order to build a strong case, it’s important to have detailed documentation of all instances of harassment. This includes dates, times, and what happened in being harassed at work. You also may want to note the exact location of the incident (for example, in an office or other work area), who was present when it occurred, and whether you believe anyone else noticed what happened. If possible, try to get the names and statements of witnesses as well.

Keep a log of your daily activities

If you’re going through a difficult time at work – perhaps because you’re being harassed at work by a coworker – you will  need to practice self-reflection and keep track of your thoughts and feelings each day. Being harassed at work can demotivate and bring down your performance at work. Keeping a log will help remind you that there are positive parts of your workday too!

Talk with your supervisor or another high-level manager in your company

If the behavior is affecting your ability to do your job, talk with your supervisor or another high-level manager about the situation. Be firm with your approach and intent to stop being harassed at work and any abusive or disrespectful behavior. Tell them how being harassed at work is affecting you and what you’d like him or her to do about it, such as strategically dealing with the harassment problem. It is your right as an employee to have a safe and enriching working environment, and it wouldn’t hurt to remind your supervisor what behaviors are and aren’t acceptable in the workplace.

If possible, provide him or her with written documentation of these incidents of being harassed at work – for example, copies of emails, text messages, voicemails, or notes you made at the time the incidents occurred.

Report the behavior to human resources

If talking with someone in management doesn’t seem to be helping (or if they’re the ones doing the harassing), consider contacting your company’s human resources department directly. You can also reach out to an outside organization that in harassment issues, such as a labor union or an anti-discrimination and anti-harassment agency.

Conclusion

There are several other effective measures not included here that you can take to prevent, avoid, or stop harassment. If you’re being harassed at work, it may feel like your options are limited. But the law is on your side: there are protections in place to ensure that workers can do their jobs without having to endure harassment from coworkers or supervisors. Show your resilience and strength of character by not giving up. If you keep pushing forward, you’ll get through this difficult time!

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