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How to deal with harassment in the workplace

Harassment in the workplace is a serious issue. It can have a huge impact on your emotional well-being, as well as your physical health. If you are being harassed at work and need advice on how best to deal with this situation, contact us today! We are happy to help guide you through this difficult time in any way possible.

By Courtanae HeslopPublished 2 months ago 8 min read
How to deal with harassment in the workplace
Photo by Heike Trautmann on Unsplash

Harassment in the workplace is a serious problem, and it's important to know what your rights are if you're being harassed.

Harassment comes in many forms, including inappropriate comments about your appearance, sexual advances from a boss or coworker, or even threatening behavior that causes fear for your safety. It's also illegal to harass someone because of race/ethnic background or gender identity/sexual orientation.

In addition to knowing what type of behavior constitutes harassment under the law, you should learn how to react when faced with this kind of situation. Here are some tips on how to deal with harassment at work:

How to Deal with Harassment at Work

If you experience harassment at work, it's important to document the incident and report it to your supervisor or human resources department.

  • Documenting the incident: If a colleague makes a sexual innuendo or inappropriate comment, write down exactly what happened as soon as possible after it occurred so that you can remember all of the details later on. You may also want to take screenshots of any messages they sent you through email or text message.
  • Reporting the incident: Even if someone has already reported something similar (or even if they haven't), reporting an incident helps create organizational accountability for how people are treated in general by creating more awareness around these issues within your company culture. This could mean speaking up with clarity, seeking support from organizations outside of work (like Women & Allies), or simply sharing what happened with your friends and family members who might be able to give advice on next steps for handling harassment at work as well as provide moral support during this difficult time!

Dealing with harassment in the workplace is difficult, but these tips can help

If you're being harassed at work, it can be hard to know what to do. There are a number of steps you can take to deal with the situation and protect yourself against more harassment in the future.

While dealing with harassment is difficult, there are many options available for getting help. You don't have to go through this alone! Organizations like the National Women's Law Center or National Association of Working Women provide resources and support for people who've experienced workplace discrimination or sexual harassment - and they can be contacted directly by phone or email.


Resist your initial impulse. When you're being harassed, it's easy to feel like you want to lash out or ignore the behavior altogether. But this can make things worse - and cause unnecessary stress on your mental health. Instead of reacting in anger or silence, try these strategies:

  • Speak up! If someone makes an offensive comment about your appearance or asks about personal details like your relationship status (even if they claim it's "just friendly"), let them know that their words are inappropriate and unwelcome. Say something like "I'm not comfortable talking about my dating life at work." You don't have to get defensive; just calmly state how uncomfortable their comments make you feel and what kind of behavior would be more appropriate instead - for example: "Could we please focus on work-related matters?"
  • Ask questions proactively rather than reactively when faced with awkward situations involving gender dynamics or power imbalances between coworkers (such as those involving age differences). For example: "Is there anything else I can help with?"


If you are being harassed at work, it's important to understand that ignoring the behavior doesn't make it go away. If anything, ignoring your harasser may make them think that their behavior is acceptable and they will continue with it. The best thing to do when someone is harassing you or making you feel uncomfortable in any way is to let them know directly and clearly that their actions are not okay.

If someone makes an offensive comment about your appearance or tries to talk about sex with you when they shouldn't be doing so, don't brush off their comments as "just joking around" or pretend like nothing happened - this only encourages them to keep bothering other people too! Instead of pretending like nothing happened (or worse yet pretending like YOU didn't matter), let your harasser know exactly how much their words hurt by confronting them directly: "When I hear comments like this from my coworkers, it makes me feel uncomfortable."


Keep control of your emotions. Don't let yourself be provoked into an argument or violence, and don't let yourself quit your job over the harassment. This can be very difficult; it's normal to feel angry, upset and even scared when someone harasses you at work. But try not to give in to those feelings - it's important that you keep a cool head so that you can make smart decisions about how best to handle the situation.

One common mistake people make when dealing with harassment is retaliating against their harasser in some way (for example by getting back at them). While this may seem like a good idea at first glance because it might make your harasser stop bothering you, retaliation often ends up making things worse for everyone involved - and sometimes even landing people in jail!

If someone has been sexually harassing me for months now? How do I get him off my back?


  • Define the problem to yourself.
  • Define it to others.
  • Define it to your boss.
  • Define it to your HR department, if you have one (and if they are willing).
  • If they're not willing, then try defining it with a lawyer or another third party who can help you find an answer - or at least give you some advice on where to go next with this situation and how best to handle it legally.* If all else fails, talk about what happened with someone close enough that they'll listen patiently and offer advice without being judgmental about how much time has passed since these events occurred


Once you've decided that the behavior is indeed harassment, it's time to decide what you want to do about it.

When confronting the person doing the harassing:

  • If possible, try talking privately with that person and explain how their behavior makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. This can be easier said than done if an employee is being harassed by someone higher up in management - but even then, there are some things we can do. For example, if someone harasses me at work by saying something inappropriate about my body or appearance, I always say "I'm sorry but I don't want to discuss personal matters like this at work" (or wherever else). It's important not just because it helps me avoid further discomfort from being objectified but also because it shows other employees who may be experiencing similar issues that they're not alone! And if nothing else works…well then maybe try reporting anonymously?


  • Recognize that you're not crazy - there's a problem.
  • You are not alone.
  • You have rights and there are resources to help you.

If you are experiencing an emotional or mental health problem, the first step is to reach out for help. You don't have to go through this alone. There are many resources available to you, including your school's counseling center and other on-campus resources.


If you want to confront the person doing the harassing, follow these tips.

  • Be prepared. Before you approach your harasser, make sure that you have done your research and know exactly what is going on in your workplace. If possible, talk with someone who has had similar experiences or talked with a lawyer about how best to proceed without putting yourself at risk of losing your job or being retaliated against by management if it doesn't work out as planned (this can happen).
  • Be clear about what you want to say and why: state this clearly at the beginning of any conversation so there are no misunderstandings between both parties involved; also be ready for possible pushback from them when they realize they may be held accountable for their actions towards others within an organization that often turns a blind eye towards these types of situations because "it's just" one person against another instead of realizing how damaging this type of behavior can be over time which could lead towards serious consequences down the road such as depression due lack self esteem issues stemming back childhood trauma caused by abuse suffered during childhood years which might lead up until adulthood where things only get worse once again because now we're talking about adults here meaning adults who've been abused all their lives since birth until now - 

Know your rights!

You have the right to report harassment without fear of retaliation. Report anonymously or to agencies like the EEOC if needed. Know your rights and responsibilities as an employee, including what you can do if you feel you've been discriminated against in any way.

How to Handle Sexual Harassment in the Workplace During the #MeToo Era: A Guide for Employees and Managers


Harassment in the workplace is a serious issue. It can have a huge impact on your emotional well-being, as well as your physical health. If you are being harassed at work and need advice on how best to deal with this situation, contact us today! We are happy to help guide you through this difficult time in any way possible.

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products and services that we believe will add value to our readers. Please do your own research before making any purchases. Thank you for supporting my blog.


About the Creator

Courtanae Heslop

Hey, I am a great writer. I know how to write in different genres, from fiction to non-fiction. I am a quick learner and can easily pick up new skills and techniques. Writing is my life and I can't imagine doing anything else.

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