What To Do If You Face Harassment in the Workplace

Recent harassment allegations against employees of the University of Southern California and California State University have unfortunately demonstrated the widespread issue of workplace harassment. Those facing harassment or inappropriate workplace behavior are often unsure of steps to take and concerned about the fallout from reporting claims.

If you have been subjected to workplace harassment or other inappropriate behavior, here are some key steps to consider.


Recognize and Document the Harassment

The first step in addressing workplace harassment is recognizing the behavior for what it is. Harassment can take various forms, including verbal, physical, or psychological abuse, discrimination, or unwanted advances. Once you identify the actions as harassment, it’s crucial to document every incident in detail. Record dates, times, locations, descriptions of the events, and any witnesses involved. This documentation will serve as crucial evidence and provide a clear timeline of the harassment for future reference.


Consult Company Policies and Reporting Mechanisms

Familiarize yourself with your company’s policies and procedures regarding harassment. Companies often have specific guidelines and reporting mechanisms in place to address such issues. Review your employee handbook, code of conduct, or policy manual to understand the steps to take in reporting workplace harassment. Note the designated individuals or departments responsible for handling such complaints.


Report the Harassment

Once you have documented the incidents and familiarized yourself with company policies, it is important to report the harassment promptly. Follow the established reporting procedures, which may involve speaking to a supervisor, human resources representative, or designated contact person. Provide them with a comprehensive account of the harassment, sharing your documentation as evidence. Be prepared to answer any questions and cooperate fully throughout the process. Reporting the harassment is a vital step toward initiating an investigation and addressing the issue.


Seek Support

Dealing with workplace harassment can be emotionally challenging. Seek support from trusted colleagues, friends, or family members who can provide a listening ear and guidance. Additionally, consider reaching out to external resources, such as professional counselors or helplines specializing in workplace harassment. These support systems can offer a safe space for you to express your feelings, gain perspective, and develop coping strategies during this difficult time.


Participate in the Investigation

Once you have reported the harassment, your company will likely initiate an investigation into the matter. Cooperate fully with the investigators, providing any additional information or evidence they may require. Be prepared to provide a detailed account of the incidents, identify witnesses, and participate in any interviews related to the investigation. Your cooperation is crucial in helping your employer address the harassment and take appropriate disciplinary action against the harasser.


Evaluate Legal Options

If your employer fails to address the harassment adequately or if you face retaliation for reporting, you may need to explore legal options. Consult an employment attorney who specializes in workplace harassment to discuss the situation and assess the viability of legal action. They can provide guidance on your rights, potential remedies, and the steps involved in pursuing a legal case.


Find a California Employment Attorney

Facing workplace harassment is a distressing experience, but it’s important to remember that you have rights and resources available to you. By recognizing and documenting the harassment, reporting the incidents, seeking support, and cooperating in the investigation, you take empowering steps toward addressing the issue and fostering a safe work environment.

Remember, you don’t have to face this alone—seek guidance from trusted individuals and professionals to help you navigate the challenging process of addressing workplace harassment.

The McGonigle Law Team has decades of experience advocating on behalf of employees who faced harassment or inappropriate workplace behavior. We are a respectful, understanding, steadfast partner in this process. If you have any questions about your situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a confidential consultation.


The information contained herein is for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice

“When Tim and his staff took on my case, they had hurdles created by former counsel to overcome. Even with all that was working against us, Tim and his staff used their considerable gifts and skills to successfully resolve the case.“

Mary E.

  • Top Verdict
  • American Board Of Trial Advocates
  • America’s Top 100 Bet-The-Company Litigators
  • Top 100 Verdicts
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Preeminent