Allowing harassment to occur unchecked in a workplace is essentially a form of discrimination. It affects the rights and opportunities of workers because of how other people respond to protected characteristics such as their age, sex or race.
Even though many companies claim to offer equal opportunities to all, some organizations will turn a blind eye to misconduct that affects the work performance or mental health of specific staff members. Harassment on the job can make people feel unsafe and can diminish their job performance.
Those who are experiencing workplace harassment theoretically have the right to fight back by asking their employer to protect them or by taking the company to civil court. However, to make a successful claim, workers need evidence. How can someone document the harassment they experience at work?
Video and audio recording likely isn’t possible
With rare exceptions of harassment occurring on company premises and captured by business security devices, it will be unlikely for someone fighting harassment in the workplace to have video or audio evidence.
Massachusetts state law prohibits recording video or audio of a conversation without the consent of everyone involved. However, just because someone doesn’t have video footage or a recording of a conversation does not mean they are without recourse.
Written records can show a pattern of behavior
Employees may keep a journal that details every negative encounter they have with their co-worker or supervisor. The time, date, location and details of the incidents can help show exactly what someone has endured and prove to the company or to the courts that it was not an isolated incident but rather a recurring problem.
People can secure witness testimony
In some cases, harassment occurs in front of other team members. When people hear an inappropriate conversation or otherwise witness the misconduct of one employee toward another, their statements could help substantiate someone’s claims about what they have endured on the job.
Emails and direct communication can help
Screenshots of text messages or emails can sometimes be important in a harassment claim. They can establish inappropriate communication between two parties or even jokes and memos sent out to the entire team that contributed to someone’s mistreatment in the workplace.
Those who take the time to generate appropriate records of the harassment they experience at work will have an easier time fighting back alongside an experienced legal professional. Taking action when experiencing harassment and other forms of employment discrimination can help to protect individual victims and other people in the same workplace who share their protected characteristics.