When you are targeted online, your credibility, career, and even your personal wellbeing and safety may come under attack. A perpetrator may contact or threaten to contact your employer and colleagues in a way that can harm you and your organization. Your emotional wellbeing is also threatened when you’re abused online, making it difficult to be your best at work.
Read below to find out what steps you can take when it comes to deciding whether to communicate with your employer about online abuse, and how.
If you are being harassed online by someone you work with, read this article first.
If you are unsure what type of online harassment you are facing, start here.
We recommend that you consider contacting your Human Resources (HR) department in this guide. However, if you prefer not to contact your HR department, you may take other recommended steps throughout this Action Plan to address what’s happening.
First, make sure you:
Consider telling someone you trust (colleague, friend, partner, e.g.)
Determine if and when to communicate with your employer
-- Contact building security, manager, and/or HR immediately if an emergency
-- List people who have been or could be affected as a result of the harassment
--- Consider: Colleagues, employer, manager, subordinates
-- List desired supports and from whom you could obtain them
---Consider: HR department, manager, colleagues, building security, IT department, social media team
-- If possible, obtain information on any existing policies regarding harassment
-- Determine your intended outcomes from communicating with your employer
- If you are concerned that the harassment and/or reporting it will result in backlash at your workplace, contact a lawyer
Then, choose what to do:
◻Communicate with employer and/or colleagues about harassment
-- Draft email explaining the situation- use this template to get started
-- Include the following information in your email:
- What is happening to you (how much you are comfortable sharing)
- Your requests, which may include:
-- Desired responses to communication from abuser (delete or forward messages)
-- Requests for other support (responding online, avoiding discussion of issue at work)
-- Critical information about online harassment and its impacts like these
◻Consider setting up and holding a meeting with HR
-- Bring relevant documentation (restraining orders, case records, posts, etc.)
-- Request information on company policies, including digital and building security
-- Explain what’s happening and request support if you trust representative(s)
◻Determine and request time off as needed
-- For self care, court proceedings, or other related reasons
-- Find out your legal rights to time off here
If harassment is ongoing, schedule check-ins with manager and/or HR to triage
If harassment escalates to threats against your safety and/or organization's safety, contact the FBI/law enforcement
To get support outside of your workplace, consider professional organizations or other support groups
To advocate for policies on online abuse at your workplace:
-- Request implementation of digital security measures from IT department
-- Schedule meeting with HR and share ideas for additional policies - get started here
-Best Practices for Employers of Writers and Journalists from PEN America’s Online Harassment Field Manual
-Speak Up and Stay Safe: A Guide to Protecting Yourself From Online Harassment from Feminist Frequency