Reporting Bullying And Harassment At Work

In a professional environment, everyone deserves to feel safe and respected. Unfortunately, bullying and harassment are prevalent issues that taint the sanctity of the workplace. Standing against such malicious behaviors is not just a personal necessity but also a social responsibility. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on effectively reporting bullying and harassment at work, ensuring that you are heard and the issue is promptly addressed.

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1. Identify the Behavior

Before taking any formal steps, it’s crucial to correctly identify the behavior as bullying or harassment. These actions can be subtle or overt and may include verbal abuse, offensive jokes, ridicule, or undermining work.

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  • Verbal/Written: Name-calling, insults, offensive jokes or emails
  • Physical: Unwanted physical contact or threats
  • Social: Exclusion, spreading rumors or shared unwanted information
  • Work-related: Undermining work, excessive criticism, or unrealistic work demands

2. Keep a Detailed Record

Maintaining a record of each incident will bolster your case. Document the date, time, nature of the incident, and the people involved, including any witnesses.

Table: Record-Keeping Template

DateTimeDescription of IncidentPeople InvolvedWitnesses
2023-10-203 PMOffensive joke made during the team meetingMr. XMs. Y, Mr. Z

3. Familiarize Yourself with Company Policies

Most organizations have policies and procedures to address workplace bullying and harassment. Familiarize yourself with these to understand your rights and the reporting avenues available.

  • Employee Handbook: Often contains the company’s policies and procedures.
  • Intranet: Company’s internal network may have resources and contacts.
  • HR Department: Directly contact HR for guidance.

4. Confidentially Discuss with a Trusted Colleague

Sharing your experience with a trusted colleague can offer emotional support and advice. It also may provide a different perspective and validate your feelings.

Example: Sarah confided in her colleague, Mark, who advised her on how to approach HR and even offered to accompany her during the meeting.

5. Report to Your Supervisor or Manager

Approaching your immediate supervisor or manager is usually the next step. Be clear, concise, and factual when presenting your case.

  • In-Person Meeting: Schedule a private meeting.
  • Written Communication: Send an email detailing the incidents.

6. Escalate to Human Resources (HR)

If the issue persists or is not addressed satisfactorily, escalate the matter to HR. Provide all necessary documentation and details for a thorough investigation.

  • Formal Complaint: Submit a written formal complaint.
  • Meeting: Attend a meeting to discuss the complaint in detail.

7. External Reporting

In extreme cases where internal channels fail, consider reporting externally. This could be a legal action or contacting an employment tribunal.

List of External Reporting Options:

  • Employment Lawyers
  • Government Labor Departments
  • Industry Regulatory Bodies

8. Seek Professional Support

Don’t hesitate to seek professional support if the harassment affects your mental well-being.

  • Counseling: Consider speaking to a mental health professional.
  • Support Groups: Online or offline groups sharing similar experiences.


Bullying and harassment can take a significant toll on an individual’s professional and personal life. By following these steps, you empower not only yourself but also contribute towards fostering a respectful and dignified workplace culture. 

Ensure that you always stand up against such behaviors, fostering a supportive and secure environment for everyone in the professional realm.