If you experience incidents of harassment at work, it is vital to create a record of that experience. Not only does this record outline initial incidents, it can also highlight the extent of the problem you have experienced. What documentation should your record include?
1. Keep a diary of incidents.
One of the most important ways to document harassment is to keep a log of the incidents. In this log, include related information like:
- The date, time and location of the incident
- All people involved, including anyone who witnessed the incident
- What occurred, including your responses
- If available, any video or audio recordings of the incident
Even if you do not know the exact details, writing down the context of the event could be especially important. For example, even if you do not know the name of a witness you can identify them by other details like their hair color and the team that they work on.
2. Save any physical items involved in the harassment.
If your harasser left physical items at your desk as part of the harassment, those items can be a reminder of a stressful situation and it can be tempting to throw them away. However, filing them as part of your records offers vital support to your complaint.
3. Request a copy of your personnel file.
Especially if the harassment you experienced has led to recent negative feedback in your review, it can be important to have a copy of your personnel file on hand.
4. Keep images or copies of emails.
Digital devices allow you the opportunity to create a more comprehensive record of emails, messages and other communication. Not only can you save messages, but you can also take screen captures of any incidents that occur over video chat. Cameras also allow you to take photos of other evidence, including any bruises left by a physical incident or displayed images contributing to a hostile work environment.
Carefully documenting your experience is an important first step in supporting your complaint and fighting to end the harassment you experienced.