No one should have to be uncomfortable when they go to work, but unchecked workplace harassment can make anyone dread Monday mornings. If you believe that you have been the target of harassment at work, then you may have some legal options. A Chesterfield County hostile work environment attorney may be able to assist you.
What Behaviors Would Be Considered Workplace Harassment?
An offhand comment or light teasing may not be considered workplace harassment. Other bad behaviors that are not repeated are usually not enough cause to file a complaint.
Workplace harassment is repeated and severe behavior that makes your place of employment unwelcoming. This can include offensive jokes, name-calling, ridicule, or even threats. Harassment can come from supervisors, but it can also come from co-workers, contractors, and others employed by your company.
What Should I Do If I Experience Workplace Harassment?
If you experience workplace harassment, you should begin to document everything. Write down what was said or done, who did it, and when the incident occurred. Keep notes on everything, and then talk to your company’s human resources department.
This starts a paper trail and, hopefully, can be the first step towards a more accepting workplace. If your HR department does nothing to curb the behavior and the harassment does not stop, then you should consider reporting the behavior to a higher authority.
In Virginia, you can file a complaint with one of two entities. You can file with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency, or the Virginia Office of Civil Rights. Whichever agency you choose will investigate and your employer could be punished for allowing the behavior to continue.
Can My Superiors Punish Me For Reporting Their Behavior?
If your employer begins treating you differently or moves to punish you after you report workplace harassment, that could be considered retaliation if it is considered an adverse action under the law. You should feel safe enough in your workplace to report a problem. A boss who hears your report and decides to punish you for “rocking the boat” should be held accountable. We are confident that the EEOC would like to hear about this.
How Can an Employment Lawyer Help?
An employment lawyer can help you identify behavior that can be considered workplace harassment. Then they can help you report it.
You are allowed to make a complaint to the EEOC or the Virginia Office of Civil Rights without hiring an attorney. When you work with a lawyer, they can help you gather evidence and craft the most effective possible report. You may have a better chance of holding bad actors accountable when you work with an experienced attorney.
Talk to an Attorney Today
So if you are ready to report workplace harassment to the proper agencies, contact Passero Employment Law. An attorney can tell you more about this process and what this law firm can do to assist you.