If you’ve been a victim of harassment in the workplace, you may feel alone and stuck, wondering what to do. It is scary to report harassment in the workplace because a fear of the unknown and a need for the money that steady employment brings, but reporting harassment compliant with company policy will protect your rights at work and with the law.
Are You Familiar With Your Employer’s Reporting Policies?
If you don’t already know what your company’s harassment reporting policy is, now is the time to check it. If your harasser is the person who you’re supposed to report to, go instead to the human resources department to relate the incident.
Was There Tangible Employment Action?
Tangible employment action is defined as a negative consequence of objecting to the harassment of someone who has the power to make negative consequences happen to you. These ramifications can include:
- Being Fired
- Losing preferable project assignments
- Being demoted
- Losing pay or a chance for a raise
- Being reassigned to a less competitive/ desirable work location
If you are suffering from a tangible employment action, you don’t need to report the incident of harassment for the company to be liable for the conditions you’re experiencing.
What If There Were No Repercussions?
If there are no objective and observable consequences of your harassment such as one of the tangible employment actions above, you will need to report the harassment to establish employer liability. Your employer should take on a full investigation of the issue and stop the harassment from continuing.
Failure to report might impact your attorney’s ability to prove employer liability if there was no tangible employment action as a result of the harassment and your objection to it.
Harassment policies should ideally stop harassment in the workplace, but in too many instances that is not the case. You can begin to defend yourself when you’re armed with the knowledge of your company’s policy.