Legally protect yourself from workplace harassment

On Behalf of | Apr 28, 2023 | employment law |

Wherever you happen to work in North Carolina, you have a right to reasonably expect safety on the job. If you work in a high-risk industry, such as construction or agriculture, your employer must inform you regarding known hazards associated with your duties. Whether you work outdoors, in an office or from a remote location, one thing you should never have to endure is workplace harassment.  

There are legal protections in place to help you counteract harassment in the workplace. You can be confident because the law is on your side. No one — not your employer, a coworker or a client — may bully or harass you in the workplace. There are several ways to protect yourself if this is happening to you. 

Learn more about employment laws, and know your rights 

A surprising number of people are not aware of their rights regarding workplace harassment. Knowing your rights and understanding employment laws are the first steps to take to protect yourself. The company that employs you undoubtedly has an employee handbook. This literature likely contains policies regarding harassment, including the procedures you should follow to report it.  

Compile evidence and keep it on hand, in case you wind up in court 

You can’t protect yourself or defend your rights if you have no evidence of harassment in the workplace. To legally constitute harassment, the behavior in question must be pervasive or ongoing. It’s a good idea to document every incident of harassment. Make detailed notes, including time of incident, location, who was involved and whether there were any witnesses.  

If your employer doesn’t respond in an acceptable way, seek additional support 

By reporting workplace harassment in accordance with the procedural policies of your employee handbook, you are obligating your employer to investigate the matter and to take action to resolve the situation. If your employer fails to respond in a fair manner, you can enlist support from law enforcement or legal advocates to help you resolve the issue.  

Know the different types of workplace harassment 

As mentioned earlier, harassment implies ongoing, pervasive behavior from your employer or boss, a coworker or client, or anyone you regularly encounter in the workplace. The following list shows several types of harassment that may occur:  

  • Verbal bullying or degrading comments 
  • Discriminatory behavior 
  • Psychological taunting 
  • Physical harassment 

There are other types of workplace harassment, as well, but these categories cover the basic kinds of harassing behavior you might encounter on the job. Nobody has a right to harass you. You can seek restitution in various forms if it occurs.