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2 min read

How Do I Report Workplace Harassment to My Employer?

Workplace harassment is a serious issue. It can be stressful to figure out how to answer, "How do I report workplace harassment to my employer?"

You know you cannot ignore the situation. It is essential that you take action and report it. But what exactly should you do?

Here are some steps that you can take to make sure your concerns are heard and taken care of.

Know What Workplace Harassment Is

Workplace harassment is any unwelcome or offensive behavior — including verbal, physical, or visual actions — creating a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work environment.

Sexual harassment is one form, but workplace harassment can also involve offensive actions based on protected characteristics, such as race, gender, religion, or disability.

The harasser can be your supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone not employed by your employer (a client, customer, or vendor, for example).

Be sure to familiarize yourself with your company's policies and the behaviors considered harassment to ensure you can identify and report them accurately.

Document the Harassment and Gather Evidence

To strengthen your case, it is crucial to document incidents of workplace harassment as they occur. Keep a detailed record of dates, times, locations, and the specific behaviors involved. Describe what happened objectively and note any witnesses who were present.

Also, collect supporting evidence (such as emails, text messages, or photographs) that corroborates your claims. The more thorough your documentation and evidence, the stronger your case will be when reporting the harassment.

Review Company Policies and Procedures

Review your company's policies and procedures regarding reporting workplace harassment. Most organizations have a specific policy outlining the steps you should follow. Generally, you will find this in the employee handbook.

Locate your company's policy, read it carefully, and understand the reporting channels available to you. Take note of the individuals or departments designated to receive harassment complaints, such as human resources or a dedicated harassment officer.

Knowing your company's guidelines enables you to navigate the reporting process more effectively.

Prepare a Written Complaint

In addition to documenting the incidents of workplace harassment you have experienced, it is advisable to prepare a written complaint that clearly outlines your concerns with the situation.

Be concise and specific in describing the incidents, providing dates, times, locations, and names of any witnesses. Also, describe the impact the harassment has had on your work performance and well-being.

Present your complaint in a professional manner and avoid using emotional language. Attach the documentation and evidence you have gathered to support your claims. Remember to keep a copy of your written complaint for your records.

Follow the Reporting Policy

Once you have prepared your written complaint, submit it to the appropriate individual or department according to your company's policies. Follow the designated reporting process and ensure your complaint reaches the right people.

Follow the specific reporting chain laid out by your organization. Generally, you will start by reporting the harassment to your immediate supervisor or manager, adhering to any specific guidelines in your company's policies.

However, if your supervisor is involved in the harassment or fails to take appropriate action, escalate the issue to the next level of management, the human resources department, or other appropriate individuals who can address the issue.

Even though you have prepared a written complaint, request a meeting to discuss the matter in person, if possible. This allows you to provide additional context and answer any questions.

It is important to remain calm, professional, and assertive when reporting the harassment.

After You Have Reported Workplace Harassment to Your Employer

After reporting the harassment, it is essential to monitor the progress of your complaint and any steps made to resolve the issue.

Depending on your organization's policies, there may be a formal or informal investigation to gather additional information and determine the appropriate actions to take. Cooperate fully with any investigation. Provide any requested information and participate in interviews or meetings related to the case.

If you feel that your employer is not adequately addressing your complaint or if you experience retaliation due to reporting, consider seeking legal advice from a Labor and Employment lawyer who can provide guidance based on your specific situation.

We invite you to get a free consultation with the Labor and Employment Law Legal Team here at Whitcomb Selinsky, PC. Call (866) 433-4116 or click here to use our convenient online form to tell us how we can help.