If you believe you are being subjected to harassment or discrimination at work, there are things you can do to protect yourself. Remember, it is never too early to talk to an attorney. You should consider contacting an employment attorney if you are thinking of quitting your job because of workplace harassment or discrimination. An employment attorney will be able to give you direction and guidance about your situation and discuss the steps you can take to protect yourself. Speaking with an attorney may also give you peace of mind and the courage to take action to address your situation at work.
Here are a few things you should consider doing if you believe you are being harassed or discriminated against at work:
Write Everything Down
You should write down in detail everything that you believe to be harassment or discrimination. This includes specifics about what happened and when it happened. You should record (in writing) what was said and done, including anything you may have said or did, and the names of any witnesses present.
If you have any conversations with human resources or your supervisor about the harassment or discrimination, take notes. Record everything that was said, who said it, and any decisions that were made as a result of your conversations. It is important to write down the date and time of these conversations, where they occurred, and everyone who was present.
Keep everything you write down at home or save it on your personal computer or personal email account. This will ensure that your notes remain private or, if you are terminated, in your possession. If you decide to take legal action at some point in the future, others will likely read your notes, so try to be as clear and objective as possible in everything you record.
In addition to taking notes, it is important to keep all relevant documents related to workplace harassment and discrimination. This includes emails, text messages, and any other communications or documents, such as Slack messages. If you have made any written complaints to human resources or your supervisor regarding the harassment or discrimination, keep a copy of these complaints and any responses you receive.
Keep all documents in one place. Either print the documents and bring them home or forward them to your personal email account. Before forwarding any company documents to your personal email account, review your company’s policies and handbook to ensure that doing so does not violate any of your employer’s policies.
Review Your Employer’s Policies and the Employee Handbook
Most employers have an employee handbook or work-related policies. These are typically provided to employees at the start of their employment. If your employer has an employee handbook or work-related policies, by reviewing them, you may be able to learn what your employer has established to protect you from harassment or discrimination. You can also find out what procedures your employer has in place for reporting harassment or discrimination. This will help you know how to alert your employer about what is happening to you at work.
Report the Harassment or Discrimination
You should report the harassment or discrimination to human resources or your supervisor. Again, check the employee handbook or your employer’s policies to see if there is a policy that requires employees to report workplace harassment or discrimination. If there is a policy, make sure you follow it when reporting the harassment or discrimination.
If you are worried about making a report to your employer, that is normal. By filing an internal complaint, you are putting your employer on notice of any behavior that you believe is wrong or potentially illegal. Hopefully, your employer will address your complaint and make any necessary changes. But if not, at the very least, you are putting your employer on notice of potentially unlawful behavior that is occurring in the workplace. It is also a good way to protect yourself, as the law prohibits your employer from taking any retaliatory action against you for making an internal complaint.
It is best to put your complaint in writing. This can be done with an email or letter. Make sure that you keep a copy of your report and any written response your employer provides you. If your complaint is verbal, you should memorialize what was said in writing by sending a follow-up email or letter to human resources or your supervisor.
If you belong to a union, you should speak to your union representative and ask about filing a grievance.
You can also file a complaint of harassment or discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or with your state’s equal employment agency. If you want to file a lawsuit against your employer for the harassment or discrimination, you must first file a complaint with either the EEOC or with your state’s equal employment agency. Before doing so, it is best to speak to an employment attorney, however. This way, you can ensure that your complaint is thorough.
Do you need help with reporting harassment or discrimination at work? Our compassionate Utah attorneys are here to lend a listening ear and a helping hand. Reach out to us online or at (800) 265-2314 for a free consultation.