If you don’t feel safe at your workplace, this can be an extremely stressful situation. If you are the target of unwanted sexual attention, physical abuse, or verbal harassment, it’s vital for you to speak with your superior or human resources department immediately.
While this might feel like a risky move, acting early can prevent the situation from escalating further. If you’re worried about retaliation, speak with your HR department and your corresponding state Department of Labor office.
Below are four ways to pursue a complaint effectively and safely.
1. Employ written correspondence
When you must send internal communications to HR and other staff members, document every exchange via email. If someone displays inappropriate behavior through a written communication, make sure to save this documentation.
When you submit a report of work incidents, obtain a copy of the paperwork for your own records. Having ample documentation of each incident can help your employer, the authorities, and local labor office intervene and stop dangerous or inappropriate workplace activities.
2. Take photos
If you’re in a situation where you can document harassment through photos, then use your smartphone to take a shot or two of the environment or subjects of an incident. This can be useful in the documentation of property damage or injuries sustained at work.
However, you should obviously use a camera only in a situation where it is safe to do so.
3. Make backups
Create backups of all your documentation and incident correspondence. Ideally, you should have more than one backup in separate locations.
That way, if one backup is lost or damaged, you will still be able to access the documents in the alternative backups. HR investigations can last a long time, and this information can come in handy in the future.
Also, you may want to revisit old documentation in case an investigation is reopened, or an incident occurs again.
4. Maintain online calendars
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission encourages employees to report workplace harassment to management teams immediately to mitigate risk. It is vital that you keep records regarding the dates and times of possible harassment incidents during the reporting.
This will give your testimony more credibility, and help your company verify the incidents of harassment. Online cloud calendars that sync between your computer and mobile devices can be an excellent place to keep notes regarding incidents at your workplace.
Experiencing workplace harassment can be emotionally draining, and cause a great deal of anxiety. A business litigation attorney can help you resolve these incidents and give you insight regarding your local, state, and federal rights as an employee.
If you are currently a victim of workplace harassment, start exploring ways to get out of the situation as soon as possible.