Abuse in the workplace is very serious and should be dealt with in a swift, proper manner. Nobody should be forced to deal with feeling uncomfortable or unsafe at work. Workplace abuse comes in several forms; with physical abuse, sexual abuse and harassment being the most common. Each type of abuse should be dealt with immediately, but should also be dealt with differently depending on its severity. Here are five steps for handling abuse in the workplace.
1. Confront the abuser
In the case of non-violent harassment, you could confront the abuser if you feel comfortable doing so. Many employees, especially women, can be the subject of off-color remarks or unwanted advances not suitable for the workplace. If this is the case, simply voicing your displeasure to the abuser could put an end to the problem. If the abuser is a fairly innocent person that didn't realize they were out of line, an apology could put the issue to rest. By taking this step first, you can avoid any unnecessary supervisor or legal involvement for an issue that could be eliminated easily.
2. Report the abuser
If you do not feel comfortable confronting your abuser or the abuse warrants immediate reporting, you should follow your employer's reporting guidelines. This may entail filing a complaint with your supervisor or head of human resources. Whatever the procedure is, it should be outlined in your employee manual. If you have been abused in the past, confronted the abuser and noticed the abuse still taking place, you should automatically report the individual. Allow the chain of power at your workplace to deal with the individual if you cannot.
3. Go to the hospital if you have any injuries
In the event of violent physical or sexual abuse, you should always go to the hospital for any injuries. There are several reasons to follow this advice. First off, you should always get injuries checked immediately for the benefit of your personal health. Secondly, you can use this opportunity to get evidence like hair, skin and bodily fluids for a possible court case. When abuse reaches this level, you have to start thinking about seeking legal help.
4. Consult the authorities if you feel scared or threatened
After handling any physical injuries you may have, you should immediately contact your local police or authorities and report the abuser. When physical or sexual contact that causes injury is present, the matter should no longer be contained "in house". Even if you don't feel right reporting this individual to police, not doing so could put someone else in your same position in the future
5. Hire legal counsel to assist you
Here in the pacific northwest, we have several Seattle personal injury lawyers and Seattle personal injury attorneys to assist people abused in the workplace. Seeking qualified legal counsel for cases of physical abuse, sexual abuse or harassment is always recommended. Justice should be sought against abusers, and you may even be able to receive compensation for your personal injuries, anguish and discomfort.
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