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Workplace Harassment
steps to take after facing harassment in the workplace

Hostile workplace harassment is any discriminatory behavior that creates an offensive work environment or unreasonably interferes with your work performance.

It can take on endless forms. However, it often has the same debilitating effects.

Maybe you find it impossible to get out of bed in the morning. Or suffer panic attacks in the office. Whatever the situation, you aren’t powerless. 

If you think you’re dealing with harassment in the federal workplace, it’s vital you act immediately to protect yourself and uphold your rights.

We’ll explore these steps in detail in this article. If you still have questions about your situation or what to do about harassment, contact our outstanding team of federal employment attorneys today. 

Five Steps to Take When Being Harassed in the Workplace

Addressing workplace harassment is crucial to ensure a safe and respectful environment. Here are five steps a federal employee should take if they believe they are experiencing harassment.

Step #1: Document Everything

As soon as you believe you’re experiencing harassment, it’s crucial to begin documenting each event meticulously.

Note down the date, time, and location of the incident. Record the names of the individuals involved and any potential witnesses. Describe the event in detail, noting the context and any triggering events.

Next, keep any tangible or electronic evidence. Potential examples include things like inappropriate text messages, emails, or gifts.

It’s also useful to take screenshots of digital evidence. This is an important practice because electronic data can frequently vanish unexpectedly.

Finally, be consistent in your documentation efforts, even if you’re unsure about what to do or what you’re experiencing.

Over time, these records can help establish a clear pattern of behavior. Evidence of such a pattern is often invaluable if legal or disciplinary actions arise down the road.

Step #2: Consider Speaking with the Responsible Party

Occasionally, harassment can stop simply by telling the harasser. After all, the bad actors may think they’re being funny, or maybe they don’t have the social awareness to see the impact of their actions.

So, by directly confronting them, you can bring their attention to the matter and possibly resolve their bad behavior. Only do this if you feel there is little or no downside in doing so.

If confronting the individual is unsafe or if their behavior continues despite a discussion, it might be time to move to the next step.

Step #3: Consult Your Agency’s Handbook or Policy Manual 

Review your agency’s policies and guidelines on harassment before taking any formal action. This will provide insights into the defined procedures for reporting and addressing your concerns.

It will also minimize the chances that you make a procedural error that jeopardizes your complaint or delays effective action.

In addition, look into how your agency handles confidentiality in harassment complaints. It’s vital to understand your rights and what information might be shared with others.

Step #4: Report the Harassment

Once you understand your agency’s relevant procedures, it’s time to take formal action.

Notify your supervisor or the appropriate point of contact designated by your agency’s handbook or policy manual.

If the harasser is your direct supervisor, find out if there’s a procedure in place for reporting to someone else.

Agencies often designate a second-line or third-line supervisor as an alternate point of contact. In any case, it’s essential to report harassment as soon as possible.

Step #5: Seek Support and Legal Counsel

Understand that dealing with workplace harassment can be a long process. Therefore, it’s a great idea to lean into your support network for moral support and insights on how to navigate the situation.

Also, reach out to an experienced employment attorney. Legal counsel is especially important if your employer is not addressing your complaint or retaliating against you.

Let’s Work Together to Hold Your Employer Accountable and Make Your Workplace Safe Again

No federal employee should suffer harassment. On the contrary, every public servant deserves a workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and unfair practices.

If you feel you are suffering harassment in the federal workplace, stand up to defend your rights and protect your well-being. 

The Federal Employment Law Firm of Aaron D. Wersing PLLC is not just another law firm. When you retain us, you gain more than just a talented legal representation.

You gain a partner who is dedicated to ensuring your voice is heard and your rights protected. Reach out today.

Contact us now and embark on the journey toward justice and peace of mind.

Author Photo

Aaron Wersing, Attorney at Law

Aaron Wersing is the founder of the Law Office of Aaron D. Wersing. Mr. Wersing graduated from the Georgia State University College of Law with a Doctorate in Jurisprudence and was the recipient of the CALI Excellence for the Future Award. Mr. Wersing previously attended the University of Georgia, where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Accounting. Mr. Wersing is an active member of his local community. Mr. Wersing acts as a volunteer attorney with Houston Volunteer Lawyers, the pro bono legal aid organization of the Houston Bar Association. He is also a member of professional legal organizations such as the National Employment Lawyers Association and the American Inns of Court. To reach Aaron for a consultation, please call him at (833) 833-3529.

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