Are you being harassed at work? Do you feel discriminated against in the workplace? Have you been the victim of violence or bullying? What should you do about it? How do you stop it? Are there legal actions you can take?
If you're being harassed at work, there are things you can do about it.
If you're being harassed or discriminated against at work and the behavior is based on one of the following protected classes of citizens: race, sex, color, pregnancy, national origin, disability, age, or genetic information, then the harassment may be unlawful.
When is harassment against a protected class of citizen unlawful? According to the EEOC, it is unlawful when you're being harassed at work and the conduct is severe enough that it creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.
So, what can you do about it?
- You can write to your harasser and tell them that what conduct you don't like, why you think it's harassment, and that they need to stop right now. ♦
- Speak to your supervisor about the harassment. If your supervisor is the harasser, see #3. ♦
- If, however, that does not work, you can take your complaint to your company's human resources department. Follow up with them to make sure they're investigating the complaint swiftly. Try to ask coworkers who have also seen the harassment you suffered from and ask if they'd be willing to make a written account of what they saw. The more evidence you have, the stronger your complaint will be. ♦
- If human resources investigates and does not find your alleged harasser guilty, or does find them guilty and the harasser has no consequences, you can file a charge against the harasser through the EEOC. The EEOC will then conduct their own investigation into the case. ♦
- It is unlawful for an employer or supervisor to retaliate against an employer for filing a complaint of harassment or discrimination. If you feel that you've been retaliated against, contact the EEOC or see #6. ♦
- If you're unsure whether you have a case or not, consult with a qualified and experienced attorney, who can also describe your options. ♦
It's important to keep a journal or email log where you can write down all the dates, times, and descriptions of the harassment.