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Filing harassment complaints at work

Being harassed at work is an experience that workers should never have to go through. Whether the situation involves sexual harassment or some form of discrimination, the primary goal is for you to get it to stop.

There are a few ways to handle this type of situation, so you need to determine which one is best for what you are dealing with. Sometimes, there might not be a clear answer. Trying to decide the option that you will use requires you to think carefully.

Company policy matters

You have to know what the company policy says about harassment and discrimination. Most businesses have specific procedures that employees should follow to ensure that the appropriate parties receive their complaints. Typically, company policy will have more than one option for filing a report, so choose the one you are most comfortable with.

You will likely need to file a complaint with human resources or a member of the management team. You don't have to make the report with your own supervisor unless you are comfortable with that person. Try to get this done as quickly after the incident as possible so that you can remember exactly what happened.

Know your rights

You have the right to file a factual complaint without having to fear that you will face retaliation at work. Your employer and supervisors can't take adverse employment actions against you simply because you made the report. This includes actions like a termination, demotion, pay cut or moving to a different, less desirable shift. If you notice any signs of retaliation, you can handle this in a separate complaint.

You can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission about the matter. This is necessary if you feel you need to take more legal action against the employer. To file, you have to ensure that you don't allow specific time limits to pass. Some employees have 180 days and others have 300 days. Where you work determines the amount of time you have to get this sent to the EEOC.

When you are making the reports about what happened, make sure that you stick to the facts. These incidents have to go through an investigation process, so you must relay things exactly as they happened. The outcome of the case is determined by the findings of the investigation.

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