What to do if you experience harassment at a company function

Harassment in the workplace is an unfortunate reality that men and women face every day. It can be blatantly obvious or difficult to recognize.

Whether you are in the office or at an off-site company function, you are working, and there are strict laws prohibiting workplace harassment, sexual or otherwise.

Examples of off-site workplace harassment

If you are curious about whether or not your experience constitutes workplace harassment, here are some common examples that people often question:

  • A manager or coworker makes lewd or inappropriate comments on a Zoom meeting.
  • Your boss asks you to continue assisting a client after you complain that they make unwanted advances.
  • You attend a company holiday party, and a coworker makes lewd comments or touches you without your permission.

If at any point someone at work makes you uncomfortable, you have a right to report their behavior.

Addressing a hostile work environment

There is no definitive path for reporting a hostile work environment. Every company should have policies to handle such situations. However, the steps you can take include:

  • Document your experience with the human resources department.
  • If you feel comfortable, confront the offender and ask them to stop in the presence of another person.
  • Speak with a manager or higher-up and ask for help.
  • File a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission online.

If you feel that you have not received efficient help, you have the right to file a civil lawsuit after filing a complaint with the EEOC. No one deserves to experience a hostile work environment. There are plenty of avenues to get the protection that you need.