What to do if You Witness Harassment in Your Office

Workplace harassment can happen to anybody, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Workplace harassment can be mild, consisting of teasing and ongoing banter, or severe to the point that it permanently hinders or even destroys an individual’s career. The most important thing to remember about workplace harassment is this: no matter how innocuous it might seem, workplace harassment can cause individuals to suffer mentally, emotionally, and financially for years to come.

If you witness harassment happening in your office, make yourself available to help the victim. He or she needs a friend and confidant now more than ever – stand by him or her and assure him or her that you will do your part in supporting his or her harassment claim if he or she decides to file one. Then, keep to your word. If your company’s human resources department or the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) launches an investigation of your office, comply with the investigation and provide the investigator with a truthful testimony about what you saw and experienced.

Protect Yourself Against Retaliation

There is the possibility that you will face retaliation from your employer for supporting your colleague’s harassment claim. Retaliation refers to any steps taken by a company to punish an employee for undesirable behavior. If your colleague’s harassment claim results in a financial loss or negative publicity for your employer, your involvement in the claim can certainly be considered undesirable behavior from the employer’s point of view.

Retaliation can come in many forms. A few examples of retaliatory behavior an employer might take include:

  • Termination;
  • Demotion;
  • Poor performance reviews;
  • Alienation;
  • Overlooking the individual for a promotion despite his or her fitness for the position; or
  • Harassment.

If you are a victim of retaliation, understand that you have rights. You have the right to file a retaliation claim with the EEOC against your company. Document all instances of retaliatory behavior you experience and discuss them with an experienced employment attorney to determine the best way for you to proceed with your claim if you do choose to file one.

New Jersey Harassment Attorney

Seek legal guidance and representation from an experienced harassment attorney in New Jersey before you take legal action against your employer. For the answers you need about harassment, retaliation, and protected activities, contact The Sattiraju & Tharney, LLP Our firm proudly serves clients throughout New York and New Jersey. Stand up for your colleagues, yourself, and the millions of other working people in the United States by taking a stand against workplace harassment.