Recognize and Take Action Against Harassment in the Workplace
Harassment is the use of offensive or threatening behavior to maintain a specific power dynamic in a workplace. It can take many forms, some of which seem innocuous at a first glance, like jokes about certain groups or belittling nicknames for individuals in the workplace. But when this behavior harms an individual’s ability to perform his or her job duties each day, the victim has the right to take steps to make the behavior stop, including filing a workplace harassment claim.
A few examples of workplace harassment include:
- Belittling remarks about an individual or a group to which he or she belongs
- Sharing of offensive images or content
- Insults and “jokes” at an individual or group’s expense
- Unwanted touching or any other physical contact
- Invasive questioning about an individual’s private life
Symptoms of Workplace Harassment
Sometimes, it can be difficult to determine if you are facing harassment in your workplace. You might feel like the behavior you experience is normal and you might be hesitant to “rock the boat.” But if you experience any of the following symptoms, you could be suffering from workplace harassment, which can cause your work quality to suffer and ultimately, harm your career.
- Missed work. If you find yourself justifying reasons not to come into work to yourself or taking more sick days than you did in previous jobs, harassment could be to blame;
- Anxiety about work;
- Feelings of isolation in the workplace; and
- Doubting yourself and your abilities at work.
What to Do if you Experience Harassment in your Workplace
Document everything. If you experience harassment via email, save the emails and compile them in a folder. If you receive voicemails that you construe to be harassing or harmful, save them as well. You cannot present a viable workplace harassment claim without evidence of the harassment. Record the date and time of every instance of harassment you experience.
Filing a Workplace Harassment Claim
If discussions about the harassment with your supervisor and your company’s Human Resources department do not end the harassment, consider working with an experienced employment lawyer to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You will need to provide your lawyer and the EEOC with all of the evidence you compiled to support your harassment claim. The EEOC may then investigate your workplace to determine if harassment has occurred and if so if you suffered economic damages as a result. It may then facilitate a settlement between you and the company. If the EEOC does not find that harassment occurred, you can file a harassment lawsuit with your lawyer, which may result in a settlement or a ruling by the court.
Work with an Experienced New York Employment Lawyer
Harassment in the workplace is never acceptable. If you are a victim of workplace harassment, you have the right to file a harassment claim with aid from an experienced employment lawyer. To learn more, contact our team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C. and call (347) 464-8694 to set up your initial consultation in our office.