The Law Offices of Laura J. Farris
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Harassed at work? Here are some points to consider

When you are harassed at work in any manner, there are several things that might go through your mind. For some individuals, this will start the flight or fight reaction. It is imperative that you take a moment to calm down and think clearly about what is going on.

When you start working at a business, there should be a clear policy that forbids harassment of any sort. This is one of the first places you should start if you are the victim of harassment.

You don't have to be the direct victim

In order to file a complaint about harassment, you don't have to be the direct victim. If you witness another person being harassed, you can be an indirect victim. People who are being directly harassed can also file complaints with an employer.

You should also note that the person who is harassing you doesn't have to be a fellow employee. You can be harassed by supervisors, company owners, vendors who supply the business with goods or customers. Employers must take steps to stop harassment from anyone.

Notifying the employer

One of the first things that you need to do is to alert your employer of the incident. Make sure that you give accurate information. You will likely be asked who harassed you, exactly what happened, and for the identity of any witnesses who saw the incident. The more information you can give to the person filing the report, the better.

Steps the employer should take

Once you notify the employer, they should begin an investigation. Typically, they will need to ensure that you and the person who harassed you don't work together any longer. They might give you the option to change shifts, jobs or locations. If you don't want to do this, they will likely opt to move the other party. There should also be a clear policy against retaliation for filing a factual complaint, but sometimes companies will retaliate, anyway. You can take legal action against retaliation.

Options if they don't react

If you file a harassment complaint and the employer doesn't do anything about it, you might need to take further action. This can entail filing a complaint against the employer and possibly a lawsuit. You should explore these options to determine if you are going to take action. Typically, it is better for you to proceed with the matter so that you are sending a clear signal that harassment isn't going to be tolerated.

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