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Should I Tell Anyone What Happened?

Carolyn Boyes - Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Should I Tell Anyone What Happened?

By now, most everyone is familiar with the MeToo movement.Do you think you may have been sexually harassed?Here’s the official definition that may help determine the answer:

*Sexual harassment. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the courts define "sexual harassment" as unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that:

  • Explicitly or implicitly affects a term or condition of an individual's employment
  • Unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance
  • Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment
  • Sexual harassment can be:

  • Physical, including unwelcome touching or gesturing
  • Verbal, including unwelcome requests for a date or sexual favors or lewd remarks or sounds
  • Visual, including unwelcome exposure to sexual photos, cartoons, or drawings
  • Just as there are many companies that have and enforce good Sexual Harassment Policies, there are just as many companies who have poor policies or no policies at all, and enforce nothing.

    Regardless of which company you work for, if something happens, you MUST tell someone.But who?Preferably your direct manager and/or Human Resources.But what if your direct manager is the person who harassed you or you don’t have an HR Department?Then go to the next level manager.

    I’ve heard all the reasons why people don’t want to report questionable behavior which focus primarily around fear of losing your job or not wanting to “get someone in trouble”. Do not listen to that little devil on your shoulder.Listen to the other shoulder that is saying you have a right to work in a place that is respectful and where you feel safe and free of any type of harassment.No job is worth being harassed.There are other jobs out there.

    At the very least, tell a co-worker who you know is supportive and ask them to go with you when you tell.

    Why should you tell?Because you don’t want the individual to harass others.Because as I said above, you have a right to work in a place that is free of harassment (it’s the law!). Because it gives you credibility.Credibility is huge.Were there any witnesses to the event?HR will want these names and they will interview these people.If they corroborate your story, there you go, you have instant credibility.Even if there were not any witnesses, but you told someone, and they confirm that you told them – you still gain credibility.That somewhat lessens the problem of “he said, she said”.

    If you wait a year, or longer, HR will ask you why you didn’t tell anyone…. Is there some reason you’re bringing this up now and didn’t then?In other words, are you trying to “get back” at the person for some reason?Or perhaps the relationship was consensual to begin with, but now the person broke up with you or is treating you poorly and you’re out for retaliation.As you can see, things get complicated quickly.But if you’re innocent and are telling the truth, you MUST tell.DO NOT lie, do not make things up – this just ruins it for the true innocent victims in the workplace and you will get caught in your lies.

    Not sure if you’ve been harassed?Don’t have HR to tell?Contact us and we’ll help you walk through the options.

    *Source: BLR

     



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