Even though we are well into the 21st century, harassment is still a common complaint in America’s workplaces—and it’s not always sexual in nature. While harassment may include sexual favors, it can also refer to derogatory remarks, treating a person differently and interrupting a person’s ability to do their work.
If you are facing harassment in the workplace—or even witnessing it—it’s important that you take action. You and your co-workers have the right to work in an environment free of hostility. Here are some steps to take whether you are a witness or the victim.
What Witnesses Can Do About Workplace Harassment
As a witness, one of the most helpful things you can do to help a colleague who is being victimized by workplace harassment is taking notes. Include details such as the date, time, where it took place and who was involved. That way, if your co-worker files a complaint, they have your testimony to back them up.
You do have the option of confronting the harasser yourself. Let him or her know that the behavior is making people uncomfortable and needs to stop. Do not make any threats. Simply discuss the situation in a reasonable manner.
If the harassment persists, let management know. Once you do, the company is required by law to take action or it could face legal consequences.
What Victims Can Do
Victims can also take the same steps. However, if you are a victim since you are the one being harassed, it is up to you to take the appropriate steps to end the harassment. Some harassers find enjoyment in getting a response from the victims. In this case, you can deflect the attacks by acting nonchalantly and asking the harasser to quit their behavior.
If the bullying continues, be sure to take notes of when the harassment occurs. Present this evidence to management so they can take the appropriate steps. If your manager is the one who is harassing you, escalate the situation to human resources or a higher-level employee.
If you still can’t get the bullying to stop, seek legal help. Workplace harassment is illegal, so if your company does nothing to stop it, it could be held liable. You could file a lawsuit and receive compensation for damages.
Do not quit your job before seeking legal help first. Once you quit your job, it may be harder for you to seek compensation for any damages you sustained.
Work with an Experienced New Jersey Sexual Harassment Lawyer
Harassment continues to be prevalent in today’s workplaces, with both men and women as victims. In some cases, it reaches a point where your work environment becomes hostile. Don’t let a bully control your workplace. If you are dealing with harassment in your workplace, contact the New Jersey harassment attorneys at The Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP for help. We can advocate for you. Schedule a free consultation today by calling (609) 722-7026.