There is nothing worse than dreading going into work, not because of a meeting or a project, but a person. Workplace harassment is incredibly common and very underreported, with most workers just assuming this is the way every workplace is and trying to make the best of it.
You don’t have to work like that, and you don’t have to dread your job. These are our 5 best tips for you when you decide you have had enough, and need to handle the workplace harassment in your life.
#5: Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted
It is so easy to get caught up in the harassment or drama of your workplace and let it affect the quality or quantity of work you put out. Don’t let it! You need to be focused on your job first and foremost, and do your best to keep your head up and your work excellent.
It sounds awful, but many employers will protect good employees more than bad ones, so make sure you stay as a good, strong employee.
#4: Talk About It
There is nothing to be ashamed about when you are being harassed, even if you feel like there might be. A lot of people deal with feelings of anxiety, shame, or embarrassment and don’t want to talk about what is happening in their work life.
But don’t be afraid to share your struggles with trusted (Keyword!) coworkers, friends, or family, especially after it is all said and done. You have done nothing wrong, and you should not feel this way.
#3: Gather People On Your Side
Are there people around when the harassment is taking place? Talk to them! It’s possible they think it is just as messed up as you do, and are willing to go to bat for you. Write down their names and bring it up to HR when you file a complaint.
Having a witness on your side is going to be a huge game changer, even if it is only for one incident to establish the pattern of harassment.
#2: Document Everything
Document it all. Emails, texts, even verbal communication should be written down. The more evidence you have to back up what is going on, the more likely the harasser is going to admit to it when confronted.
If you say, “I remember you made a comment about my butt in those pants last week”, that is weak. If you say “On the 9th at 3 pm you told me my butt looked fantastic in those black slacks and I should stop wearing the granny bottoms and buy more of these”, they are going to have less of an argument.
Any emails or physical harassment should be printed, backed up, and saved somewhere safe, preferably off-site. Don’t leave any evidence lying on your desk or out in the open.
#1: Do Not Be Afraid To Report It
We spend a lot of time at work, and you should feel comfortable there. (At least to a degree!) Report the harassment when it happens, as often as it happens, as often as you can.
If you don’t feel comfortable going to your boss (Or if he is the one harassing you), take your witness information and documentation to HR, or if you don’t have an HR department, his boss.
When all else fails, or you don’t trust your company, consider filing with the EEOC, or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. They take harassment very seriously and will help you get to the bottom of issues and unfair workplaces.
If it has gotten to the point where you plan on suing, most courts will need to see you filed with the EEOC, as well.