Reports on workplace harassment and discrimination are on the rise since the #MeToo movement started. According to Market Watch survey, EEOC complaints are going up and so are internal complaints to employers and industry groups. The EEOC has recovered almost US$70 million for complainants in the fiscal year 2018, up from US$47.5 million in the year prior. The report showed that women account for approximately 85 percent of sexual harassment complaints with the EEOC.
The data above implies that workplaces are hardly spotless from harassment or discrimination. If left undressed, not only the victim but the company bottom line should pay the price. That being said, it is better to report the case and solve it before it goes spiralling. If you are an employee who is being discriminated against or harassed by your employer, coworkers, or supervisors, here’s what to do to report the issue.
As a mindful employee, you should have done your research before accepting a job offer in any organisation. Your research could be your last weapon when any wrong behaviour or treatment happens to you. The research should include work ethics and policy in the company you will be working. You can do this by checking the company’s website or if you are convenient, you can ask the company policy to a hiring manager on your first-round interview.
All the written clause regarding harassment and discrimination policy will ease your job in reporting the wrongful behaviour as you can just follow the policy guideline. However, if there is no written policy, you should directly talk to a supervisor regarding the case.
Tips: It will be wiser for you if you have a copy of the company policy to learn it further.
The first step you can take when being discriminated/harassed is to tell the offender directly. Of course, this goes when you feel comfortable telling and having a face-to-face discussion with him. If, however, the person does not have the intention to stop the wrongdoings, you can give hard warning to him that he has violated workplace policy and you will report him to HR or upper supervisors.
Whether you experience harassment or you witness one, documenting the unjust doing is crucial as a proof. This way, you can let your employer know that you are taking the matter seriously. After that, ask your employer/supervisor to investigate the action taken by offenders. Then, politely tell your HR to make a written report for the wrongful acts as legal proof. If you do not have any proof taken, you are still able to report to your HR or employer because according to Tripartite Advisory, employers are required to consider all reports of discrimination and harassment promptly even when there is no proof.
However, you should remember that any false reports might lead to crash workplace relationship and you might face ramifications.
When you find that your report is being ignored or your employer does not take the case seriously, you should consider contacting the federal or state lawyer/agency. But first, you should review your country legal federal and state laws about workplace harassment and discrimination.
For Singapore employees, employees can file the wrongful behaviour and report it online here or call 6838 0969 for advice. Alternatively, MOM government has listed contact information for employees who wish to report harassment or discrimination.
For Indian employees, employees can review Act No 14 of 2013 about sexual harassment at workplace. Or, employees can lodge a complaint with the Local Complaints Committee established in your respective district under the Sexual Harassment Act.
For Malaysian employees, employees can learn state law regarding sexual harassment and discrimination here. Or, you can make a complaint directly to the Labour Department. Here is information on making a complaint to the Labour Department.
Lastly, any legal report should not be handled alone, especially if it involves a sensitive issue. Doing so will only risk your professional career and you can end up losing everything if not being careful. Therefore, if you think your problem is too big to be handled alone and your employer does not give assistance, you should get a lawyer or attorney’s help. If you cannot afford a private lawyer, you can always turn to the federal, state, or local agencies. You can also go to the human rights commissions or organisations in your state and ask for their help.
One thing to keep in mind is that when you are about to report something legal, make sure you have a written, visual, or spoken (witnesses) proof to help you win the case.