Posted on February 9th, 2010, by DrShaler
(C) Rhoberta Shaler, PhD

So frequently, people don’t speak up when they are repeatedly harassed. They sometimes think they are supposed to understand that the person “doesn’t really mean it!” or that they“just have to put up with it to keep my job!”. They might be right. However, there is one big thing you need to know:

When it comes to harassment, there is one piece of good news: harassement is determined more by the effect it has on the receiver than by the intentions of the initiator. So, in a perfect world, when you actually accuse someone of harassment, that will work in your favor.

I add the “perfect world” caveat because companies sometimes fail to use outside neutral mediators to manage harassment complaints. And, that’s a big mistake! They think they will save money by having an HR person, or a manager handle the problem, but they are usually nowhere near unbiased. They are involved in company politics, bottom lines and other concerns of keeping their jobs, too.

When you have a complaint about someone’s consistent or frequent belittling, demeaning, or discriminatory behavior, you deserve to have it mediated by an outside neutral person. Ask for that.

I wish you well.

Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
Consultant. Counselor. Coach. Catalyst.
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