How To Document Workplace Harassment
Both California and federal law prohibit workplace harassment directed towards employees who belong to protected classes. In most cases, the challenge lies in proving your case. In order to hold your employer accountable, you need to prove that they were aware of the harassment and failed to take action. In addition, you need to prove that you were, in fact, subjected to harassment. Reporting and documentation are, therefore, very important elements of your case. If you are unsure what to do about the harassment you are experiencing, a workplace harassment lawyer can provide you with important guidance.
If push comes to shove and you have to pursue a claim, you may have to rely primarily on your own experiences. As a result, you should:
- Keep careful notes concerning when the harassment began;
- Who was involved;
- What the behavior consisted of;
You should also make sure to include pertinent details such as the date and time the behavior occurred and who may have been present to witness it. If the harassment involved emails or other tangible evidence, make sure to keep copies or take pictures with your smartphone. It may not be feasible to record the harassment on audio or video, but you should make detailed notes concerning the harassment as soon after the incidents as possible.
Keeping detailed notes will help verify important details of your claim. It will also help you recall precisely what happened if you need to pursue a harassment claim later on.
Reporting the Harassment
In most harassment cases, the worker is attempting to hold the employer liable for the consequences of the harassment. This is only possible if the employer is made aware of the harassment and refuses or fails to take action. Therefore, you must report the harassment to your employer, even if your harasser is a supervisor or manager.
The first thing to do is to review your employee handbook. It will hopefully include an anti-harassment policy that lays out what you need to do to report harassment. If it does not include a complaint procedure, you should seek guidance from your human resources department. If HR informs you that your employer does not have a complaint procedure, then you should file a written complaint with them. You should include as much detail as possible.
Following the report, you should also carefully document any conversations you have with HR or other management personnel about the harassment, the actions they have taken, and what changes you observed in the workplace.
Contact Attorneys for Employees if You Are Being Harassed at Work
Harassment in the workplace is against the law and should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, it can be extremely difficult for employees to take action to protect their rights – no one wants to put their job at risk. At Attorneys for Employees, we understand the challenges and uncertainties you are facing. If you are being harassed at work, we can protect your job and your future career – contact us today to learn more about how we can help.