While it is not a legal definition of harassment, it will be helpful to describe it as physical or verbal pestering or torment done based on religion, sex, or race. Harassment is not just merely inappropriate and unethical. Still, it is also a form of discrimination that is punishable by law.
The following are included in the list of the various forms in which harassment takes place at the workplace:
- Offensive jokes
- Calling names
- The threat of physical assault or actual physical assault
- Offensive pictures
And other types of generally offensive behavior. A predominant form of harassment that often takes place in offices is sexual harassment. Any unbecoming conduct, uninvited comment, or objectionable behavior constitutes harassment. When it is regarding gender, sex, or sexual orientation fall under the purview of sexual harassment.
Harassment is a bigger problem than the statistics tell it to be, as only 10% of all incidents are reported. You should stand up for yourself and be among that 10%. The following tips will help you with the same:
Use Available Redressal Resources
If someone has been harassing you at the office lately, the first thing to do is go through your firm's employee handbook. Many companies have special personnel designated as an Equal Employment Opportunity officer and harassment policy specified in the company handbook. Others let you file internal complaints in other ways. Suppose your company has no provisions for the same. In that case, you can get in touch with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They will provide you with counseling making you aware of your legal rights, irrespective of whether you end up filing a complaint or not.
Seek Professional Help
While there are several legal provisions to prevent harassment, it is indeed something that requires tact, cleverness, and legal knowledge to hold the offender accountable. Nashville is known for its excellent employers. Still, as a city resident, if you find yourself being harassed at the office, it is a good idea to consult Nashville workplace harassment attorneys. They will help to guide you through the entire redressal process.
Immediately Report Harassment
As a self-respecting person who values a human being's essential dignity, it is vital that you immediately report all instances of harassment. The employer needs to be aware of harassment incidents if you wish to hold them accountable in legal terms. In case there is no specific personnel, specially designated, informing an HR team member or your supervisor is a good idea.
Often companies have set out specific policies while dealing with harassment incidents. It would help you go through the same before you report the incident and follow the guidelines mentioned to minute details as far as it is practicable. If you report the incident during a meeting, make sure you keep a written summary. You might also choose to notify your grievances in writing. Another essential thing you need to follow is to keep copies of all documentation made regarding your complaint from all parties.
Put It Down In Writing
Whenever an incident of harassment occurs, it is important to write down exactly what happened as soon as you can. Make sure this written account is specific and detailed and record essential details like place, date, time, and witnesses if there are any. Once you have reported the incident, note down the person to whom you did the reporting, their response, and the outcome. Other people might need to read this account at a later time so keep things objective and accurate. You need to document harassment incidents. The last advice to give to you would be to store this written record at your home or another safe place rather than in your office.
Join Other Victims (If Any)
Often people who harass you do it habitually. Don't be surprised if your tormentor pesters other people too. In such cases, please encourage them to report their grievances. If that feels uncomfortable, you can also mention in your report that the person has harassed other employees.
Maintain Records Of Your Job Performance
Your position is going to be tricky if your tormentor is your supervisor. In such situations, it is quite common to find them trying to defend themselves on the grounds of your lack of job performance. So, you must keep copies of all documentation related to your work performance. Such documentation includes:
- Performance evaluations
- Documentation of work quality through letters
If, for any reason, you haven't kept such details with yourself, make it a point to gather them legitimately before you report the harassment incident. Also, review your personnel file if your company policy allows the same. Keep copies of relevant documents in the same file or make notes if your employer does not permit the former. As with the records of your harassment, it is vital to keep such documentation at a safe place other than company premises.
The last thing to mention is that it is good to be compassionate and feel for other people's troubles. Accordingly, if another person is being harassed at your office, it is crucial to support them and encourage them to report such misconduct. Who knows, God forbid the next victim of the harassment might be you. Be responsible and stand up for the rights of yourself and others!