He who does not work, neither shall he eat. These biblical words are sometimes used to justify our, or our employers, job and why we dedicate up to half of our waking hours to it. Sure, we not only have to pay taxes and other unpleasantries, but we also like buying stuff, food, clothes, and going out. All of these things cost money, and money usually comes from performing some work.
There is, however, the other side of the coin – what happens at the workplace. Unpleasant situations can arise for several reasons, from being scorned for making an expensive mistake to being constantly harassed. This second scenario, being harassed, is particularly problematic, is not justifiable, and should not be tolerated. If it is happening to you, then you have to take certain actions to protect your rights.
Types of Harassment
Harassment can come in many shapes and sizes, from corporate to individual coworkers. Though human psychology is similar in many people, there is a repeating pattern that results in a few common types of workplace harassment:
- physical harassment
- sexual harassment
Some of these may seem benign at first, yet every warning sign shouldn’t be taken for granted. A light nudge on the shoulder when a manager is passing next to you may soon turn to a much more serious issue if not confronted on time. Discrimination and sexual harassment are particularly problematic as they are still seen as acceptable in parts of Tennessee, and are therefore harder to counteract. They are overlooked sometimes in most of Europe, too.
Informing HR and Lawyers
Depending on the situation, there may be a different order of things you’d need to do, and in no particular order, they go as follows. In the case of physical harassment, where an injury occurred or your property has been damaged – you should contact the police and talk to a workplace harassment lawyer in Nashville. Such situations are a serious law violation and can easily pass in your favor if it ends up in court. Sexual harassment and discrimination are not recognized as severe and are best first talked about with your human resources representative. In California, employees are required to have California Sexual Harassment Training before they start working, so HR should be well-informed of the laws. With any luck, the person harassing you will be given at least a warning from corporate, and you will receive compensation for your troubles.
How to Approach a Bully
The title may be a bit misleading, as it is usually the bully who approaches you first and makes you feel intimidated. However, there are several ways of approaching and standing up to them that you can try. Having a firm stand from the beginning of your relationship may be enough to divert them away from you, as people who bully typically target those that don’t put up a fight.
Though sometimes not even this is enough, mood swings and a change in the work environment might trigger a reaction that didn’t happen before. All of this is important because you need to know that sometimes whatever you do, the bully will threaten you, so approaching them directly is only a temporary solution. The long-term answer is getting the company to stand ground with you and have them punished and removed.
An alarming statistic shows that the majority of people have been affected by bullying in the workplace, either directly or as a witness. In return, this means that you are also very likely to have encountered it yourself, at least as a witness. Knowing this, one should be prepared to reach out to other coworkers and help them if they can.
The same rules and principles apply, with the difference of having the courage to do it for someone else’s sake. We often let the responsibility of the crowd get the better of us and allow for an immoral act to continue because we expect someone else will stand up and take care of it. Don’t wait for someone else! Even if HR gets flooded with complaints, it is still better than allowing harassment to continue.
The workplace should be an area of professional excellence and a busy and hard-working atmosphere, not a place for a community of harassers to thrive. To prevent this very unpleasant situation, we must ensure that everyone on board knows that harassment is unacceptable and that only a sharp and sound reaction can solve this problem permanently.
Even if lawyers have to get involved – call them as soon as an accident happens, and let them do their magic. A punished harasser is one harasser less.