Every workplace should be a safe and healthy environment, where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, and employees may experience sexual harassment or bullying. If you are going through such an experience, it is essential to speak up and seek help. One way of doing it is by reporting the issue to HR. In this blog post, we'll discuss the steps for preparing to bring an issue to human resources, giving you the confidence and understanding of what to expect.
Step 1: Start a Power Journal
It's essential to document every incident, what was said, who said it, when and where it happened, and the impact it had on you. This is commonly referred to as a 'Power Journal'. Make sure you keep every piece of evidence you have, including emails, text messages, photos, videos, and audio recordings. Create a timeline of events, including any witnesses to the incidents. It shows that you are taking the situation seriously, and you have a record of the abuse, making it easier for HR to investigate.
Step 2: Know Your Company's Policies on Sexual Harassment and Bullying
Make sure you have read and understood the company's policies on sexual harassment and bullying. Policies should include details on what is considered harassment, the types of behavior that are not acceptable, the procedure for reporting complaints, and the protections afforded the complainant. If you're unsure or don't have the policy, ask HR for a copy.
Step 3: Reach Out to HR
Arrange a meeting with your HR representative and share your experience with him/her. Provide all the relevant information you have collected. Be honest and upfront, and don't leave anything out. HR needs to know that sexual harassment or bullying is taking place so that they can take action. After discussing the issue, request that HR takes necessary action and investigate the situation.
Step 4: Follow up with HR
After speaking with HR, follow up with them to understand the investigation process and follow up regularly. Ask for updates and ensure that HR has completed the investigation. HR should ensure the investigation is thorough, unbiased, and confidential. Afterward, ask for a copy of the report that summarizes the findings of the investigation.
Step 5: Stay VigilantEnsure that the individual who is harassing you is not retaliating against you. HR may advise you to limit contact with the person or provide provisions to keep the two of you separated. If there is retaliation, inform HR immediately.
Reporting incidents of sexual harassment and bullying can be intimidating and overwhelming, but it's vital to speak out and seek help. If you follow the steps outlined in this blog post, you will be better prepared to bring your issue to HR and make your workplace a safer and healthier environment. Remember, if you do experience any misconduct from a colleague, know that it is not your fault. Sexual harassment and bullying have no place in the workplace. You have the power to stand up for yourself and others, and we hope that this post has equipped you with the knowledge and understanding needed to make change.