Workplace harassment isn’t always easy to recognize. Many cases of harassment in the workplace go unnoticed or unreported, especially when they involve subtle and indirect behaviours that are difficult to spot. Nevertheless, recognising and reporting workplace harassment is essential. In this blog, we’ll share our top tips on how to create a safer work environment.
What is Workplace Harassment?
Before we can explore the signs of workplace harassment, we’ll need to state its definition. Harassment in the workplace refers to any unwelcome comments or behaviours based on a set of protected characteristics. This includes:
Harassment can manifest itself in various forms, including verbal, physical, or written actions all of which create a hostile work environment. Your company should have zero tolerance when it comes to harassment.
Recognise the Tell-Tale Signs
Overt harassment is much easier to recognise, however, workplace harassment can also be subtle. Overall, you should look for behaviours like offensive jokes, derogatory comments, unwanted advances, inappropriate gestures, or exclusionary actions. A covert example would be sending emails with offensive slurs about race or religion. A subtle example could be making sarcastic comments or jokes about race or religion.
Document All Evidence
If yourself, or a colleague, are experiencing any form of harassment in the workplace, it’s important that you maintain a detailed record of the events. Make a note of the dates, times, locations, and descriptions of the incidents. Similarly, it’s a good idea to write down any witnesses who were present.
Investigate Company Policy
When it comes to reporting harassment, most companies will have a set of policies and guidelines that employees should follow. This is important as it can ensure confidentiality and impartiality. Once you know what steps to take, approach the appropriate people and make use of the resources within your organisation.
Report the Harassment
Now that you know what the established procedure for reporting harassment is, make sure to follow through. Not only will this help your employer address the issue swiftly and effectively, but it can also deter others from experiencing harassment in the future. Be as honest as possible in your report and remember to write down all the details as this will help support your claim.
Seek Support and Legal Advice
Last but not least, it’s important to build a support system around you during these difficult times. You may even want to consider seeking advice from a team of legal professionals like HKM. Don’t forget to speak to friends and family members about your experience as they can provide a helping hand during emotionally draining times.
As a victim of harassment, it’s completely normal to fear the consequences of reporting the crime. Many individuals do not stand up for themselves because they fear retaliation, damage to their reputation, or consider the whole ordeal too complicated. However, the reality is that, as an employee, you have rights. With a legal professional guiding you through the process, you can put a stop to workplace harassment and help pave the way for future employees too.