Workplace harassment is, unfortunately, quite common. However, it is rarely addressed openly in workplaces. Harassment at work produces a toxic and harmful work environment. Many incidents of harassment at work go undetected and unreported as many people are not aware of what constitutes workplace harassment. Sexual harassment lawyers in California can help victims of harassment. However, before seeking help, it is important to do your own research, especially on such critical matters.
This article will discuss workplace harassment, its different forms, and the steps that can be taken to address and report it.
What entails workplace harassment?
When an employee or a group of workers feels threatened or belittled by their colleagues, it is referred to as workplace harassment. A workplace harasser’s objective is usually to make their target feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
Workplace harassment is referred to by a variety of terms, including “bullying,” “mobbing,” “violence,” and so on.
Workplace harassment can take many forms.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), some of the major forms of workplace harassment, are inappropriate slurs, epithets, bullying, physical attacks, mockery, insults, intimidation, offensive objects or photos, and interference with performance.
The following are the five major categories of workplace harassment:
- Verbal Harassment
- Psychological Harassment
- Physical Harassment
- Sexual Harassment
Steps to take to deal with workplace harassment
The lack of physical evidence in most complaints or harassment actions should not stop a victim from submitting a formal report. There may be concerns from other victims who have reported similar actions by the same criminal. Therefore, reporting workplace harassment is necessary.
- Pay Attention to Harassment
Don’t overlook the problem if you suspect you’ve been the victim of harassment at work. Ignoring such conduct may encourage the harasser to become more aggressive. Although discussing harassment might be uncomfortable, you can empower yourself by speaking up and communicating with other workers who may be experiencing harassment as well.
2. Check with your employer to determine if they have an anti-harassment policy
This information might be found on the company’s website. If a policy exists, follow the steps outlined in it. The policy should provide you with a variety of reporting alternatives, including the ability to file a complaint.
If no policy exists, speak with a supervisor. You can speak with your own manager, the manager of the harasser, or any other supervisor in the company. Explain the situation and ask for their assistance in stopping the conduct.
3. Gather your proof
Keep copies of any texts, emails, cards, or notes sent by the harasser. Don’t get rid of them. If your device dies or you get a new one, be sure to take a screen capture of any messages and take a printout so you don’t lose them. Emails should also be printed and kept in a secure location.
4. Make a complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
If your employer refuses to take action after you report harassment at work, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You have 180-300 days after the date of harassment to file a complaint, depending on your state. If you lodge a discrimination complaint with the EEOC, you are protected against retribution.
5. Obtain the services of a competent lawyer.
Consider getting a local employment lawyer to see if you can find someone who is familiar with harassment.
A sexual harassment lawyer in California can advise you on what constitutes unlawful sexual harassment under the law; how to handle the situation (i.e., filing a proper complaint, trying to keep your job, gathering proof of the harassment, or dealing with the stress); and, if things get out of hand, what legal options you have (i.e., attempting to negotiate a severance/settlement arrangement or, if necessary, filing an administrative charge or lawsuit).
You should always protect your right to a secure workplace. There will be more victims if you do not report sexual harassment, and the behavior will worsen.
You are protected by the law from reprisal (penalty) if you report harassment. You have the right not to be retaliated against if you report abuse, engage in a harassment inquiry or litigation, or oppose harassment.