What to do if you’re harassed at work

As a general rule, employers in Missouri must take steps to prevent workplace harassment and bullying. However, it’s possible that you will find yourself the victim of a workplace bully despite your company’s best efforts. Therefore, it is important to understand how to respond to unwanted interactions with colleagues and what you might be able to do to hold them responsible for their actions.

Is the harassment intentional?

There is a chance that a person who is engaging in unprofessional behavior is not doing so on purpose. Furthermore, there is a chance that a person has simply taken a joke too far or that a particular action was simply offensive at the moment as opposed to offensive in general. For example, someone may have told a joke while you were in a bad mood that hit a little harder than it would have at another moment in time. In such a scenario, it may be best to explain to your colleague why the action was offensive and to refrain from taking that same action again in the future.

What happens if a simple conversation isn’t enough?

If a simple conversation doesn’t get the unwanted behavior to stop, you should tell someone within the company about your experiences. While this can be your immediate supervisor, it can also be anyone who you trust to take your allegation seriously.

Make sure to document everything

It’s usually easier to prove that workplace harassment is taking place when you have strong evidence to back your claims. Evidence may include copies of emails, text messages or social media posts that contain offensive material. You may also want to enlist witnesses who can issue statements verifying your version of events.

Victims of sexual harassment may be entitled to compensation or other forms of relief. In the event that a person is terminated after making a harassment claim, he or she may be allowed to return to work with full pay and benefits.