Workplace Harassment: How To Recognize and Report It

There is no place for harassment in the workplace. If you read any employee handbook you’ll find harassment is listed and, in most cases, it will be classified as a form of gross misconduct. That means it is possible to dismiss the person or people involved immediately.

Of course, if you’re being harassed or unfairly accused of harassing others and subsequently dismissed, it’s a good idea to contact a reputable unfair dismissal employment lawyer and discuss your options. They will be able to file a claim for you but it needs to be within 21 days of the dismissal.

In theory, no one should suffer from workplace harassment. In reality, many people have suffered from workplace harassment. The best way to resolve the issue is to educate people better. Being able to recognize the signs of workplace harassment and subsequently report it correctly will make it easier to stop the harassment.

Recognizing The Behaviour

There are many different types of workplace harassment. You can be harassed because your skin is a different colour, you’re the wrong sex or sexual orientation, or perhaps you have different religious beliefs from everyone else.

Whatever the reason, harassment is the same. It happens when one person is treated differently from everyone else.

In order to spot workplace harassment, you simply need to look at how people interact with you versus how they interact with others. If there is a marked difference then you’re being harassed. This illustrates the more subtle versions of harassment, where people are psychologically attacked and not physically.

Of course, harassment can also take a more physical form, such as touching someone when they don’t want to be, poking them, pushing them, or even hitting them. If the person is touched in a personal spot the physical harassment moves into the sexual harassment category, which is even more serious.

If you pause to take a look you’ll probably find there is harassment going on in your workplace. Although you may not normally notice it, the harassment is there.

Reporting Harassment

Once you become aware of the harassment you have a duty to report it. You’ll need to consider the position of the person being harassed versus the person doing the harassment. It’s likely that the harasser outranks the harassee, making it very hard for them to stand up to them.

If you wish you can file a complaint with the line manager, even if it is them doing the harassing. Should they fail to respond adequately you can then elevate your complaint over their head and with their boss.

If you work for a larger firm then you will have an HR department. This is a good place to start with your complaint as they are separate from the chain of command and duty-bound to investigate the facts.

It is essential that all complaints and demands for change or apologies are logged, along with details about several of the incidents that happened. This will make it much easier to pursue the matter further if necessary. It will also show the management that you are serious and want to be taken seriously.

You should note that many managers and even HR departments will seek to push the issue ‘under the rug’ and maintain the pace rather than risk negative publicity. You’ll need to stand firm to ensure your case is looked at and resolved fairly.

Should the complaints to management not make any difference then you’ll need to speak to an unfair dismissal employment lawyer. You don’t need to have already been dismissed, just be worried that it is the next logical step by your current employer. Of course, if they dismiss you without proper reason that will automatically be unfair dismissal and strengthen your case against your employer

Final Thoughts

It can be easy not to notice harassment when it is not happening to you. But, turning a blind eye when someone is being harassed makes you as bad as the harasser. You need to take the time to watch your fellow employees and identify any that are struggling. Often, they simply need someone to have a little faith in them. This will help them deal with the matter and make the work environment better for everyone.

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