Harassment is a serious issue in any workplace and although significant steps have been taken in recent years to put a stop to workplace bullying and harassment, there is still a long way to go. We’ve put together some advice to help tackle harassment at work:
Discover help within your company
Many companies have an official complaints or HR department and you can report harassment cases to them. Your company may also provide dedicated helplines, external resources and counselling should you need it.
If you are being harassed, try and gain support from those around you. If possible, find out if others are experiencing harassment from a particular individual or group of people. Banding together to record incidents and gather evidence to validate your case will be invaluable when it comes to making an official complaint.
Write it down
Keeping a written record of all the events is an important step in stopping those who are harassing you at work. As the law only recognises harassment if it has occurred at least twice, documenting incidents is essential and the more detail you can provide the better. Be sure to note dates, times, places and possible witnesses.
When it comes to harassment, excuses such as ‘it was only a joke’ doesn’t cut it. Even if you’re not the victim, if you believe workplace harassment is taking place it’s far better to report it than risk the safety of yourself or your co-workers. Most businesses have a zero-tolerance policy however, if they’re unaware of the problem there is little they can do.
Know the law
Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010 and it covers unlawful discrimination based on age, disability, gender, race, religious beliefs and sexual orientation. It’s important to know that if a colleague is harassing you, not only are they responsible but so is your employer which is called ‘vicarious liability’. If in doubt, check your problem comes under the law.