You might assume your employer would want to know if someone at work harasses you. After all, no company wants a reputation as an unsafe and uncomfortable place to work. Your employer may even have told you to report incidents and brought in specialist trainers to make clear they will not stand for harassment. Yet when you report an incident, you soon wish you had not.
There is often a massive disconnect between the anti-harassment policies that companies preach and put in their employee manuals and their handling of things when you make a complaint. Some bosses are more interested in protecting their friends and reputation than ensuring that justice is done. They are willing to go to extreme lengths to shut you up or discourage anyone else from complaining.
You do not need to accept harassment or retaliation for reporting it
Workplace harassment is illegal, and so is retaliation for reporting it. Yet many employers continue to retaliate, and they may do it in subtle ways, which make it more difficult to catch them. For example:
- They target someone you are close to: A savvy employer knows they cannot retaliate against you directly, but they still want to teach you a lesson. If the company suddenly retracts the job offer you helped your niece get, it may be why.
- They cancel your project: You and your team have worked hard for months on a project with good prospects. Then out of the blue, you get an internal mail telling you the company has decided to cut funding.
If you suspect recent events are down to employer retaliation for reporting harassment, it is crucial to take a closer look. Getting a legal opinion of the situation can help you understand the options available.