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How should you bring up workplace harassment to HR?

From off-color jokes to inappropriate comments, there are many ways harassment can manifest in the workplace. No matter which industry you are in, harassment is likely a part of it. A recent survey found that around 20 percent of Americans have experienced some form of harassment at work. 

If you ever experience harassment, the first thing you should do is bring the harassment to the attention of your company's HR department. There are specific steps you can take to resolve the problem and help your case. 

File a formal complaint

Your company needs to give every employee a handbook about certain policies. This should include guidelines on what you should do when you experience harassment. In the event no such policy is in place, then you simply need to go to HR to see what the next steps are.

Some businesses, especially ones that have fewer than 10 employees, may not have an HR department. In these cases, you need to bring the situation to the attention of someone higher up the employment chain. 

Protect yourself

It is illegal for employers to retaliate against workers who report harassment or abuse. That does not mean all employers will follow the rules. In the event your boss demotes or fires you, you need to keep track of the action. 

Make sure HR takes tangible action

Most companies try to avoid any liability with harassment cases, so they will work with the individual who harassed you to resolve the issue. After filing a complaint, you need to follow up to see what happened. 

One such action may be that your company starts a new seminar series where a speaker comes in to inform employees of what behaviors are inappropriate at work.

However they resolve the issue, make sure it is taken care of quickly. 

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