Understanding and Ending Workplace Harassment
Workplace Harassment can take many forms, but the results can be equally damaging. When a person is exposed to harassment on a regular basis it can lead to depression, anger and even fear for their economic well-being and safety. Many employees who have been exposed to this type of behavior will suffer from illnesses brought on by stress and feel hesitant about going to work every day.
Obviously this type of behavior is illegal and there are many laws which are designed to protect the rights of those who are being harassed. Unfortunately, as helpful as these laws have been to reduce this amount of behavior, they have not eliminated it entirely.
Too many people believe that harassment only refers to sexual harassment. This is not the case. Anyone, male or female can be either the victim or the culprit causing the problem. It is important to realize when this behavior is occurring as well as take the steps to make it stop.
Anyone who makes someone else feel uncomfortable or unsafe at work is guilty of harassment. This could be by making unwelcome sexual comments or gestures. It could also be physical threats or performing pranks after be asked to stop. Using intimidation to control the behavior of others, spreading rumors or using racist, sexist or other prejudicial words or phrases to discuss or address someone is also considered harassment.
Anyone victimized by workplace harassment should immediately make a complaint to their supervisor. If the supervisor is the problem, the matter will need to be taken to higher management and a formal complaint filed with the human resources department. If the matter is not properly handled by management, it may be necessary to hire an attorney.
It is important to document the abuse. Create a journal with names and dates that notes every incident. Make certain to get a copy of every formal complaint filed with the company. These documents will be an important part of any case. If there are witnesses to the abuse, try to get statements from these people as well.
Awareness of the problem and workplace training has done a lot to reduce this type of harassment, but a policy is only effective when it is enforced. If you feel your employer has not done what they should to protect your rights, take the matter into your own hands by finding legal representation. For more information visit The Law Offices of Filteau & Sullivan.