Winning Is
No Accident
Choose Experience To
By: Murphy & Murphy Law Offices

Reporting Workplace Harassment

Latest News

How Can You Report Workplace Harassment?

Harassment at work can be profoundly distressing and make it difficult to do your job. It can feel intimidating to speak up and address the issue, but it is crucial to report workplace harassment to the correct individuals or departments at your place of work. The process for doing this should be outlined in your employee handbook, or you can contact your human resources department for more details.

Reporting harassment is critical for a couple of reasons. First, it notifies your employer of the problem and gives them an opportunity to address it and work toward a solution. Second, it shows you made a good faith effort to bring the harassment to your employer’s attention. If they do not act upon your report, then they may be liable for any continuing harassment. If you attempt to file a claim for workplace harassment without reporting it to your employer first, your case is likely to be dismissed, except in very rare circumstances.

What is Harassment?

Harassment is any unwelcome behavior that would make a reasonable person feel humiliated, distressed, unsafe, or uncomfortable. Harassment can be verbal or physical and can occur in person or through electronic means, such as texts or emails. Often there is a discriminatory aspect to the harassment. Discrimination occurs when a person is treated differently based on their religion, sexual orientation, nationality, gender identity, race, age, or other characteristics that define the person as a member of a protected class.

Many workplaces have policies and training in place to address harassment and provide workers with guidance on how to report issues. Unfortunately, the perception of what is appropriate workplace behavior can be highly subjective, which may lead to issues if the company is not proactive about addressing problems. Generally, if the conduct is repetitive, severe, intended to cause mental distress to the victim, or would be found offensive to a reasonable person, it could be considered harassment.

What if You Are Fired After Reporting Workplace Harassment?

Many people are hesitant to report workplace harassment because they fear losing their job, having their pay cut, or experiencing another type of negative consequence. However, reporting harassment is a legal right of every worker and is considered a protected activity by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Any adverse actions taken by the employer after the worker has filed a good faith harassment complaint that might deter another reasonable employee from taking the same action could potentially be considered retaliation. Some types of retaliation are blatant, such as termination, disciplinary actions, or demotion. Other forms of retaliation may be less obvious but just as detrimental, such as switching an employee to less desirable shifts or withholding mentoring opportunities. If you have faced retaliation for filing a harassment report, a workplace discrimination attorney can evaluate your case and help you defend your rights as a worker.

When Should You Contact a Lawyer About Your Workplace Harassment Case?

If you have reported your workplace harassment to your employer and they have dismissed or ignored your concerns, and the harassment is ongoing, it is time to consult a lawyer. They can provide a confidential evaluation of your claims and explain your legal rights and options for resolving the situation. You deserve to have a safe, respectful, non-discriminatory workplace, and if your employer fails to provide that, they may be liable. Contact our Ventura office today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your workplace harassment case with a knowledgeable lawyer: (805)330-3393.