Abuse in the Workplace: What Are Your Options?

"Abuse in the Workplace: What Are Your Options?" Crying Woman

~by Meghan Belnap~

As a business owner, you have a multitude of responsibilities that extend beyond the daily production of your products and services. Of the most important duties, ensuring that your employees are protected and cared for should be high on your list. Whether it is sexual harassment or verbal abuse by management or a co-worker, the good news is that there are numerous ways to keep this from occurring.

Encourage Employees to Talk with their Supervisors

If abuse of any kind is happening in the workplace, the first step should be to speak with managing supervisors about the issue. If the supervisor is the one acting as the abuser, making a trip to the Human Resources office to document the abuse should be done as soon as possible. By exposing the abuse and making the employer aware of what is happening, the groundwork is laid for future legal action if needed.

Discuss Legal Options

When it comes to understanding the legal options in these cases, working with a professional who has a Master’s in social work can be crucial. Not only can they refer you to other agencies that may be able to provide information on legal options, but a trained social worker can also give advice on how to overcome the effects the abuse is having on the mental health of your employee(s). Because most social service agencies work closely with Legal Aid societies as well as other attorneys, this can be an important step in pursuing possible litigation against an employer.

Launch the Counterattack

If legal options have been discussed and appear likely to be followed, there are certain things that should be done. There should be zero tolerance for any type of abuse in the work place. Eliminating the offending employee from further employment is likely your best option. Pay special mind to the abused and get them the help they may need. Failing to fix the situation in a timely and responsible manner can mean legal trouble for you and your business. Take any and all accusations seriously and professionally. Otherwise, you could be sued for your failure as an employer to make your company a safe place.

While workplace abuse can be a difficult situation to experience on any level, those who do should realize there are a number of options available to them. Whether speaking with a trained social worker or filing a complaint with Human Resources, these steps will likely help to end what may be an almost unbearable situation. As a business owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your employees are informed about what steps they should take.

Meet the Author: Meghan Belnap

Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure.

You can connect with Meghan on Facebook here and on Twitter here.


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