What is the Best Way to Handle Harassment at Work? Advice from an Employment Attorney


Workplace harassment is an unfortunate reality that many employees face, and it can have a significant impact on their well-being and job performance. In this article, we will explore what constitutes workplace harassment, how to recognize it, and the best strategies for handling such situations. We will also delve into the legal aspects of workplace harassment and the role of an employment attorney in providing advice and support.

Understanding Workplace Harassment

Definition of Harassment

Workplace harassment refers to any unwelcome conduct or behavior based on protected characteristics such as race, gender, religion, age, disability, or nationality. Harassment can manifest in various forms, from offensive remarks and slurs to physical intimidation and threats.

Types of Workplace Harassment

There are several types of workplace harassment, including verbal, non-verbal, physical, and visual harassment. Verbal harassment involves derogatory comments or offensive language, while non-verbal harassment may include gestures or facial expressions intended to demean or intimidate. Physical harassment entails unwanted touching or physical aggression, while visual harassment could involve displaying offensive images or symbols.

Recognizing Harassment at Work

Subtle Signs of Harassment

Workplace harassment is not always overt and can sometimes be challenging to identify. Subtle signs may include exclusion from social activities, constant criticism, or being assigned menial tasks without reason. Such behaviors can create a hostile work environment that negatively affects an employee’s psychological well-being.

Overt Forms of Harassment

In contrast, overt harassment is more apparent and may involve direct threats, public humiliation, or spreading false rumors about an individual. These aggressive actions can cause immediate distress and fear for the targeted employee.

The Impact of Workplace Harassment

Effects on Employees

The effects of workplace harassment can be devastating for the victim. It often leads to increased stress, anxiety, and emotional trauma, resulting in decreased job satisfaction and productivity. In severe cases, victims may suffer from depression or even contemplate leaving their jobs.

Effects on the Organization

Apart from harming individual employees, workplace harassment can tarnish the reputation of the organization and lead to employee turnover. It also fosters a toxic work environment, hindering teamwork and creativity.

Steps to Address Workplace Harassment

Keep a Record of Incidents

If you experience any form of harassment at work, it is essential to document each incident meticulously. Note the date, time, location, and details of what transpired, along with the names of any witnesses present.

Report the Harassment

Reporting harassment to the appropriate authority within the organization is crucial. Most companies have established procedures for handling such complaints, and it is essential to follow these protocols.

Seek Support from Colleagues

Talking to trusted colleagues or friends can provide emotional support during challenging times. They may also serve as witnesses or corroborate your experiences if necessary.

Consult an Employment Attorney

When dealing with workplace harassment, seeking advice from an employment attorney can be immensely beneficial. An experienced attorney from Malk Law Firm can guide you through the legal process and help you understand your rights and options.

Legal Remedies for Workplace Harassment

Internal Complaint Procedures

Many organizations have internal complaint procedures to address workplace harassment. Following these procedures can lead to investigations and appropriate actions against the harasser.

Filing a Charge with Government Agencies

If internal avenues fail to resolve the issue, victims can file a charge with relevant government agencies, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Pursuing a Lawsuit

In extreme cases, victims may pursue a civil lawsuit against the harasser and their employer. An employment attorney from Malk Law Firm in Los Angeles can assist in building a strong case and seeking justice.

How an Employment Attorney Can Help

Assessing Your Case

An employment attorney will assess the details of your harassment case, helping you understand the legal validity of your claims.

Guiding You Through the Legal Process

Navigating legal proceedings can be daunting, but an employment attorney will provide guidance and support throughout the process.

Negotiating with Employers

Often, a resolution can be achieved through negotiations. An employment attorney will advocate for your rights and interests during these discussions.

Preventing Workplace Harassment

Implementing Policies and Training

To create a harassment-free workplace, organizations must establish clear anti-harassment policies and conduct regular training sessions for all employees.

Promoting a Respectful Workplace Culture

Fostering a culture of respect, inclusivity, and open communication is crucial in preventing workplace harassment.


Handling workplace harassment requires courage, support, and a comprehensive understanding of legal options. By recognizing the signs of harassment and seeking advice from an employment attorney, victims can take steps toward reclaiming their workplace dignity and protecting their rights.


  1. What should I do if I experience workplace harassment? If you experience workplace harassment, keep detailed records, report it to your employer following the company’s procedures, seek support from colleagues, and consider consulting an employment attorney.
  2. What if my employer doesn’t take action on my harassment complaint? If your employer fails to address your harassment complaint, you can file a charge with government agencies like the EEOC or consult an employment attorney to explore further legal options.
  3. Can I sue my employer for allowing harassment to happen? In some cases, you may have grounds to sue your employer if they were aware of the harassment and failed to take appropriate action to prevent it.
  4. How long do I have to file a harassment claim? The time limit for filing a harassment claim varies by jurisdiction. It is best to consult an employment attorney promptly to ensure you meet the applicable deadlines.
  5. What can employers do to prevent workplace harassment? Employers should implement clear anti-harassment policies, conduct regular training, and foster a culture of respect and inclusivity to prevent workplace harassment.

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