So far in this series I’ve talked about why you should put everything you do in writing; I’ve explained the importance of focusing on your passion and purpose; and now I am going to share with you how to deal with someone who is harassing you at work.
Lesson # 3 – Build Your Case
Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up
When you’re being harassed, you must make it clear to that person that you do not like what they are doing, and tell them to stop. Don’t assume that they know you don’t like it.
Remember, not everyone perceives things the same way. In their mind, they may think what they’re doing is just playing or a joke, so you want to make it clear that what they’re doing is inappropriate, and you do not play like that.
This is especially important when it comes to sexual harassment. There are people who sexually harass others in very subtle ways, and it may not be apparent to them that the other person is uncomfortable.
Remember, many sexual relationships (that are consensual) start in the workplace. Some of these relationships even lead to marriage. So, if a person is used to approaching co-workers in a sensual, seductive, or sexual way, they may not be aware that some of those co-workers do not like it; especially if those co-workers do not speak up and say that.
If you want to build a solid case, it’s extremely important that – from the very beginning – you tell the person harassing you to stop. This will prevent any misunderstandings or misinterpretations when you later file a complaint.
Keep A Record of The Behavior
After you have made it clear that you do not like what the harasser is doing, you need to make sure that you keep a record of when, where, and how you are being harassed.
Start journaling about what’s going on. Record the date, time, location, the person’s name, and what they did. Be very specific.
If there were any witnesses, make sure you write their names down too.
This is the type of documentation your supervisor, HR department, and/or legal team will need to help you with your case.
Consult with your co-workers about the situations that they have witnessed, and make sure they’ll back you up.
If your co-workers have not witnessed anything yet, see if the ones that work closely with you are willing to be in a certain area at a certain time that your harasser usually comes around you. Ask your co-workers if they would also document what they witness.
Yes, there will be some co-workers that do not want to get involved; however, do not assume that everyone will have that mindset. You may even find that some of them have been harassed by the same person, but were too afraid to speak up; however, due to you talking about your situation, that may give them the courage to support you, even if they’re not willing to discuss what they experienced.
The next step you want to take is to report your case. I will discuss this in the next blog post – which will be lesson #4 in this series. See you then.