Workplace harassment is a serious legal and moral issue that impacts not just the harasser and the harassee, but everyone within the work environment. As the Federal Communications Commission reports, harassment in the workplace is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This makes it a prosecutable crime if claimants collect evidence to back their allegations. One of the most common tools to collect evidence is a harassment log. To ensure that evidence collected via this log is usable, the log must be filled out with fidelity and detail.
Complete the log immediately after the incident. If you allow much time to pass between the occurrence and your recording of the details, you run the risk of making errors or forgetting some of the vital information of the exchange. For optimal accuracy, go to your office immediately after the incident takes place and tend to the task of logging.
List the date, time and location of the incident. Be as accurate as you can be, since all of this information could become important if the harasser denies the claim. For example, if you inaccurately report a time and the person can prove that he wasn’t in the building at the time you listed, you damage your case.
Provide the name of the perpetrator and his office relationship, such as manager. If your log has a separate section in which to list this information, place the name in that field. If not, include it in the description of the incident.
Include as detailed an account of the incident as possible. A report that says, “He said something inappropriate,” isn’t actionable. To make your log useful, you need to include every detail of what was said as to the specific words used. This can determine if the incident amounts to harassment.
List any witnesses. Include anyone who was -- or may have been -- within earshot or line of sight when the incident occurred. Even if you don’t know if this person saw or heard anything, list her name, as she may have valuable information that can back up your claims.
Gather any evidence available to corroborate the information contained in the log. If you have workspace cameras and can get the footage that proves the interaction listed on the log took place, do your due diligence to keep this vital piece of footage handy in case the incident leads to termination or prosecution.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.