No matter what form harassment takes on the job, it is a problem that is still a long way from being solved. According to a recent article appearing on the Forbes magazine website, Corey Coleman, HR chief for FEMA, had allegedly been engaging in ongoing sexual harassment of women at the federal agency. He had, according to reports, been recruiting and hiring female employees as being potential sexual partners for his male colleagues.
It can be problematic enough to face sexual assault and harassment on the job, but when those who are put in a position of trust to ensure a work environment that is not hostile, it can be especially traumatic.
Such abuses are nothing new. However, for those who are currently facing such a similar hostile work environment, columnist Liz Elting advises the following:
- Document Every Incident –Describe incidents in a diary or log with as much detail as possible. Keep records of any harassing texts, instant messages, phone calls, emails or other communication and cellphone records if applicable. The more complete and detailed the information you are armed with the better.
- Go Through Channels – Your employee manual may give you a good place to start going through proper channels in order to lodge a complaint about the behavior of those perpetuating the abuse. Again, document this information in as much detail as possible.
- Find Others Facing the Same Challenge – It is more than likely that you are not the only one being harassed or targeted by an abuser. These individuals rely on fear and secrecy to enable them to conceal their bad behavior. There is strength in numbers and you stand a much better chance of prevailing against abusers and putting a stop to their behavior.
- Talk to an Attorney – If you have not gotten satisfaction by going through channels within your organization, it’s time to get legal representation. If possible, have your workplace allies go with you. Make sure that you bring all of your documentation along with you. Be aware, however, that even the threat of a potential lawsuit can cause a company to terminate your employment. Even if that happens, you may still be able to prevail. Depending on the current employment laws within your state, the circumstances surrounding such a termination, and the advice of your attorney, you may still have a case.
The most important thing to remember in any work situation is that no one should ever have to put up with abuse or a hostile work environment. Be confident and empowered by becoming your own best advocate.