Is your boss threatening your job if you don’t “see things his way?” Is a coworker sabotaging you, or taking credit for your ideas with her team? The workplace can be stressful enough without these issues to deal with. It’s time to take action. This article will show you how to write a formal letter to your company’s Human Resources Department.
Method One of Five:
Sexual Harassment Edit
Verbalize the problem. Assess the problem, and be totally frank. Is your boss really out to get you, or was he drunk and exhibiting the social graces of a water buffalo? It may not matter to you or your boss which it is, but it will help you frame your letter to HR.
Can you please put wikiHow on the whitelist for your ad blocker? wikiHow relies on ad money to give you our free how-to guides. Learn how .
Understand Sexual Harassment. According to the Human Rights Commission, sexual harassment is “unwelcome or offensive verbal or physical conduct. towards another.”
- According to the EEOC, sexual harassment can occur in a variety of forms:
- The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
- The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
- The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
- Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
Try to resolve your issue. Before you write to HR, try to resolve any issue you may have with another employee—whether subordinate, colleague, or supervisor—by talking to them.
You may have misunderstood, or they may have not understood they were causing a problem. Many times, when people talk to one another about their problems, an agreement can be reached.
- In cases where you believe the action was malicious and that the person’s behavior and/or position is such that you would be uncomfortable discussing it with them, do not hesitate to skip this step and write to HR immediately.
Contact your company’s HR department for instructions on their requirements and guidelines for written complaints.
- Some companies have standardized complaint forms. Use what they provide, and fill it out completely.
- Ask for an approximate timeframe in which you can expect a response. If they are vague or do not seem to take the matter seriously, make note of the date, time, and person you spoke to. This may be necessary should the matter require legal intervention.
- Ask how you are expected to manage the issue while you await a resolution. This is especially important in situations involving harassment by a superior, or physical abuse by anybody.
- Allow HR to investigate and deal with the problem, but be clear that you expect a resolution within the timeframe they have given you. If they fail to meet that timeframe, make note of that for further action that may be required.
Find a template on the Internet that suits your complaint. If your company does not have a standardized complaint form, there are many resources on the web to help you properly frame your complaint. Just remember to keep it formal, professional, and strictly factual.
- An example can be found at officewriting.com
Method Four of Five:
Writing the Letter Edit
Write your letter to HR. Using the form you were given, or a template or sample that you obtained from the Internet, write a clear and concise letter to HR.
- State the problem briefly. Describe it factually and unemotionally, avoiding psychological assessments, motivations, or character attacks.
- Do describe the effect the issue has had on you, personally, and how it affects your job performance and ability to function in the workplace.
- Mention that you have already tried to resolve the problem informally, if that is the case. If you have not tried to do so, explain why. For example, “After the problem started, Mr. Moats would whisper ‘I’m going to fire you if you say anything’ whenever I attempted to discuss the matter with him.”
- List as many details about the problem as possible. For example, if you are alleging harassment, explain what happened to trigger your complaint.
- Failure to list your specific allegations may be used against you in court if it goes that far.
Maintain a professional tone at all times. Do not personally attack anyone else in your letter or use foul language.
If there are multiple complaints, list them out under separate subheadings or write multiple letters.
State how you would like the problem to be resolved.
Make a copy of the letter for your records.
Submit the letter to HR.
- Ask to whom the letter should be addressed. Follow their guidelines in order to expedite the process and avoid problems later, but be clear that the letter must be addressed to a specific person, not a department.
- Remember that the HR representative works for the company and, while he or she may be helpful, his or her loyalty is ultimately to the company. Don’t assume they are your friend, but do know they will take any allegations that could damage the company as very serious matters.
Method Five of Five:
After the Letter Has Been Submitted Edit
Know your rights. Do not hand them over without due consideration. Remember:
- If the HR representative asks you to sign a statement regarding the incident, consider reviewing it with your attorney before signing it. It may dismiss the company from any liability for the actions of the person responsible for the harassment, even if the company enables the actions.
- If your company has a lawyer, he or she may work with HR on the issue. Do not use your company’s lawyer as your own under any circumstances.
Consult your attorney. This may be just a formality, and it need not go further than a phone call to let them know this action is taking place. However, if the HR department is combative or pressures you to take actions that seem inappropriate, then this too is a form of harassment, and you will need expert assistance.
Be on your best behavior after submitting the letter. Do not give them cause to dismiss you capriciously.
- Some employers may be eager for retaliation. Doing your job properly will limit the opportunity for retaliatory measures.