Coping with harassment in the workplace can often seem impossible. Facing the harassment and the indifference of your superiors and coworkers may convince you that there is nothing you can do to prove that harassment is taking place. However, there are a few steps you can take that could significantly improve your environment at work.
Approaching Your Harasser
Make it clear to the person harassing you that their behavior is unwelcome. Have a discussion with your supervisor about the harassment. If your supervisor is complicit or participates in the harassment, discuss the harassment with another supervisor, making sure to note that you are apprehensive about talking to your supervisor about the harassment because of his or her role in it.
Reporting the Harassment
Find your employer’s policy regarding workplace harassment and the procedures to follow when reporting it. The policy is typically in the employee handbook. These policies will indicate the person or department, if there is one, who handles cases of harassment. If there is not a specific person or department to report to, go to your department head or to Human Resources to make your complaint. Once you make a report of harassment, the company becomes liable for any harassment that occurs. You may discover that your complaint is not taken seriously or that it is disregarded entirely, so make your complaints in writing and keep copies of all reports you write and forms you complete.
Write a journal noting dates, times and the nature of all incidents of harassment that occur. If there are any witnesses, take their names as well. Be as detailed as possible. Keep copies of harassing e-mails, posts on bulletin boards or other harassing messages. If other coworkers are reluctant to make statements on your behalf, make sure they know that they are protected against retaliation. If the harassment continues even after you make reports to Human Resources, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to file a Charge of Discrimination.
Anderson, David A.. “Harassment of the Disabled: A Workplace Issue.” Law Library | Legal Professional. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. http://library.findlaw.com/2003/Jan/9/132459.html
“REMINDER: HARASSMENT BASED ON DISABILITY IS WRONG, ILLEGAL .” U.S. Department of Education . N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Nov. 2011. <www2.ed.gov/PressReleases/07-2000/0726_2.html>.