Being the victim of a hostile work environment is a heavy burden to deal with. Things can get so bad that you ultimately end up quitting or getting fired. To increase your chances of getting unemployment benefits, it's important to follow specific actions while you still are employed. If you wait until you are no longer employed, it may be too late to prove you were working in a hostile situation.
Document, document and document some more. By doing so, you create a verifiable paper trail that can be used later to help prove your case.
Keep a journal handy. By doing so, you are always ready to record the details of a hostile situation as it occurs. This can be a written journal or an electronic voice recorder journal. When writing in the journal, include the date, time, perpetrator's name, witnesses and your response.
Talk to your boss or manager about the hostile working environment. Describe to her some of the hostile situations you have experienced. Refer back to your journal to provide specific dates, incidents and witnesses. If your boss refuses to address the issue, speak with human resources.
Use written communication when discussing your concerns with the boss or human resources. Verbal communication is difficult to prove since it becomes your word against theirs. This written communication becomes part of your paper trail. Print out all email communications about the hostile environment. Make copies of every letter you write or receive.
File a grievance with management or human resources if your hostile working environment is not resolved. By following the company's grievance process, you prove you did everything possible to stop the hostility. If your grievance isn't addressed, go as high up the chain of command as possible to get your issue addressed. Understand that going up the chain of command can result in even more hostility.
Don't quit your job unless you absolutely have to. Whether you quit or are terminated, the key to proving your case is to present copies of your paper trail. The paper trail proves that you did everything possible to resolve the situation before quitting or getting fired.
Stay calm during the unemployment benefits interview. This interview is conducted by an unemployment insurance representative after you submit an application for benefits. The interview usually takes place over the telephone. Not only is the interviewer listening to your response to her questions, she is also listening to how you respond. Too much emotion can lead the interviewer to draw the wrong conclusion. For this reason, leave your emotions out of the interview. Simply stick to the facts.
Faizah Imani, an educator, minister and published author, has worked with clients such as Harrison House Author, Thomas Weeks III, Candle Of Prayer Company and "Truth & Church Magazine." Her dossier includes JaZaMM WebDesigns, assistant high-school band director, district manager for the Clarion Ledger and event coordinator for the Vicksburg Convention Center.