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What should I do if I am a victim of workplace harassment?

Labor Law
What should I do if I am a victim of workplace harassment?
Mobbing is part of the reality of the work environment and is a situation that can have serious consequences for the health of workers who suffer from it. What to do in these situations?

How do I know if I'm being harassed at work?

Our lawyers specializing in labor law warn that sometimes, the mobbing or harassment at work is camouflaged or even interpreted as something that falls within the norm. In the end, wherever this form of harassment occurs, there is an interest in making sure that what happens cannot be used in front of a judge, and this means that in every type of work environment these attacks are adapted to the circumstances.

Harassment at work is abusive behaviour or psychological violence to which a person is subjected in the workplace, manifested especially through repeated behaviour, words or attitudes that injure their dignity or psychological integrity, and that endanger or degrade their working conditions.

These harassing attitudes lead to the isolation of the worker in the work environment, causing anxiety, stress, loss of self-esteem and psychosomatic disorders, and can even lead to the voluntary abandonment of their job because the pressure to which they are subjected is unsustainable.

What should you do if you are a victim of harassment at work?

Mobbing or harassment at work is a serious threat to dignity in the workplace. This type of behaviour, since it poses problems in terms of detection and proof, and since it occurs in such a particular area as that of labour relations, needs to be tackled and confronted with special care.

Since these are acts that can be qualified as crimes, it is best that the employee who may be suffering from such a situation seek legal advice.

- Reporting to the company. The first step is to report the facts to the company. Ideally, this should be done in writing and copies of the evidence should be provided. The recipient of the complaint should be the Human Resources department, the Occupational Risks department or the company's own management. We also advise you to inform the workers' representative, if any.

- Complaint to the Labour Inspectorate. If the company does not take measures to correct the situation or if these are ineffective, the second step is to bring the case to the attention of the Labour Inspectorate.

- Complaint to the courts. Court proceedings are the last resort. Depending on the facts reported, either the Social or the Criminal jurisdiction must be used. Civil jurisdiction can also be used to hold the harasser or harassers accountable.

What kind of evidence is required to bring a legal action on workplace harassment?

Unlike other types of harassment, such as sexual or school harassment, for example, harassment at work is characterised by the fact that it takes place in a context of apparent normality. The person who harasses, the one who commits the illegal act, does so surrounded by circumstances that apparently minimise the impact and, moreover, practically never leaves a written record of his or her actions.

For this reason, it is important that the person who considers that he or she is being harassed at work has any document or communication that may reveal any sign of harassment; he or she should regularly write down all the actions that may be considered forms of harassment at work, with the date, time and the person responsible for them; finally, and probably the most important evidence to be able to prove the situation of harassment at work, the recording of a video or audio.

Contact us, and our lawyers specializing in labour law will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Madrid and Reus.