Nobody should have to suffer harassment in the workplace. If your job in retail comes with a side helping of aggression, unwanted sexual advances, or bullying, there are routes you can take to hold your employer responsible.
Workplace harassment is a real threat for too many of us. When you agree to take on a job, you agree to take on the work involved. You do not agree to subject yourself to discrimination, bullying, or inappropriate comments. Still, workplace harassment affects thousands of us every year. Here is what you need to know to protect yourself from it when you work in retail.
How Common is Workplace Harassment?
Workplace harassment is far more prevalent than you might think. According to statistics from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment has become prolific in our workplaces. The EEOC recorded 98,411 incidents of workplace harassment from 2018-2021. Added to that, 27,291 of those charges were of a sexual nature. Of those huge figures, between 5-8,000 cases see a successful prosecution each year. Not only does sexual harassment in the workplace exist, but we also only prosecute a fraction of the perpetrators.
It’s important to remember that there are diverse types of harassment in the workplace – even in eCommerce. As well as sexual harassment, you might experience harassment as:
- Bullying by one or a group of other employees. When management single you out for bullying, this is especially difficult
- Verbal harassment – when negative or derogatory comments happen repeatedly
- Cyber bullying – experiencing online victimization can be just as bad as real-life harassment when you work from home
- Physical harassment is when the harassment escalates to person-on-person contact. It covers everything from drawing on you when you doze off to punching you
What to do If you suffer harassment?
1 – Report the Incident
If you experience any of the above, your stress level will elevate, and you will suffer because of it. Here is what you ought to do if you experience harassment in retail.
The first thing you should do is to report the harassment to your employer, only if it is safe to do so. In some cases, the employer could be the harasser. Report the incident to your employer and give them a chance to rectify the situation. If nothing changes, it’s time to bring in the big guns.
2 – Find a workplace harassment lawyer
You can hire a workplace harassment lawyer to help you hold your employer accountable and cease the bullying. If you report your incident or problems to a supervisor and they do not take any action, you could have a case to claim compensation.
3 – Gather Evidence
Once you have a lawyer that you know and trust, you should gather all the evidence of the harassment that you can. Evidence gathering should start from the moment the incident or incidents begin. Speak to witnesses and record dates and times.
4 – Go to court
Once you have all your evidence and your lawyer submits it, a judge will decide to what extent the harassment took place. Based on that decision, you can negotiate a settlement or pursue the matter through court. Either way, justice will catch up in the end.
In conclusion,it is important to be aware of the potential for workplace harassment in retail environments. If you are a victim of workplace harassment, there are a number of steps you can take to seek help and support. Speak to a trusted friend or family member, or contact a support organization such as the EEOC or National Women’s Law Center. Remember, you are not alone and there is help available.