What To Do
The Next Steps
After experiencing harassment, discrimination, or other mistreatment on the job, you probably wonder how to handle the situation. Our attorneys created a guide of what to do and what do avoid doing as a victim.
What To Do
One of the most helpful things you can do for your case is document the initial incident and any subsequent instances of wrongdoing. If you can:
- Write down dates, times, and locations of each instance of harassment, discrimination, or wrongdoing. Be sure to include what happened or was said, as well as the names of anyone present.
- Save all communications such as email, texts, voicemails, recorded statements, photographs, or social media posts. Take screen shots if necessary.
- Get names and contact information for all potential witnesses to the incidents.
- File a formal complaint at work and get copies of all relevant documentation.
- Gather the names of people in charge at your workplace, including your supervisor and the HR manager.
- Keep all job performance and productivity records. If possible, have human resources pull your personnel file or performance reports and review them. Take screen shots or make notes in case your performance is ever disputed – especially once you file a complaint.
- Confide in a coworker, a close friend, or a family member about the harassment and record important details of those conversations. They can not only provide valuable support, but also corroboration if you need it in the future.
- Contact an experienced employment lawyer without delay.
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What To Avoid
Some actions, even if they may seem harmless, can seriously harm your case and your chances of recovery. When possible:
- Do not quit unless you fear for your safety. In most cases, you must file a formal complaint and allow your employer to respond or make changes.
- Do not delete or discard anything related to the incident.
- Do not tell your coworkers or others that you are planning to sue.
- Do not leave the documentation you’ve gathered in your office or on your work computer. Make sure it is copied or backed up and kept somewhere secure.
- Before recording conversations, check your state laws and company policies – some companies prohibit the practice and in some states it’s illegal to record conversations without consent from all parties.
SHOWING THE WHOLE PICTURE
Before speaking with a lawyer, think about your work history leading up to the incident. Things such as the duration of your employment, the date the unwanted sexual attention or discriminatory behavior started, and the possible causes can all factor into your case.
When reviewing the information, be honest about any disciplinary marks in your employee file. These will not invalidate your claim; instead, they can help your attorney see the full picture and help you avoid questions of credibility that might arise if you are dishonest or do not fully disclose all the facts – good or bad.