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How to stop harassment at work without losing your job

On Behalf of | Nov 9, 2022 | Employment Law

You should feel comfortable and safe completing your job duties at your place of work. Discrimination or harassment has no place in employment.

If you are subject to frequent, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature and may feel afraid to speak up, rest assured that you have legal protections under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and state laws.

1. Review your employee handbook and policies.

Check the harassment policies at your workplace and go through the proper avenues to report the harassment to management in writing. Even if you do not think that a complaint to your supervisor or HR director will do any good, this report of harassment is necessary evidence for future lawsuits.

2. Say no to your harasser.

Please do what you can to notify your harasser that their offensive behavior is unwelcome. Even if you do not feel safe or comfortable speaking to your harasser directly, use your body language to disapprove of the offending conduct. Make sure you do not send mixed signals, such as flirting or engaging in banter.

Any type of communication is better than ignoring the harassment and hoping it will disappear.

3. Keep detailed notes.

Write down precisely what happened as soon as possible. Record times, places, dates and potential witnesses to the harassment. Encourage your coworkers to do the same if they also experience sexual harassment. Keep this information private at home and not on any work device or email account.

4. Remember your legal protections.

Retaliation is illegal. Your manager cannot fire you for raising an internal complaint about harassment or discrimination at work. If your employer takes any adverse employment action against you (i.e., pay cut, demotion, transfer or firing) after you make a reasonable harassment complaint, you have legal recourse.