The issue is often not what was the harassment, but why is the employee being harassed. That is often times lost in deciding how to handle the situation. Thus, employees will merely respond to the situation by addressing the criticism from the boss without thinking about the more critical issue of why am I a being so treated.
There are three pieces of advice I would share. Number one, if you are in this type of situation, it is important that you meet with a qualified lawyer who concentrates in Employment law to help address the “why” issue and decide the appropriate strategy of what to do next. There are discrimination statutes (LAD), breach of contract issues, wage and hour statutes (FLSA), medical issues (FMLA), and a whistleblower statute to be mindful of (CEPA). There is also the issue of balancing the equities in a reasonable accommodation dialogue. employment law is akin to chess and it is important that a strategy is implemented thinking two or three steps into the future.
The second piece of advice is that an employee should not handle the situation by having an oral conversation. An email or some other form of documentation is very important to ensure there is accurate documentation of the interaction.
The third piece of advice is that the employee should print and maintain in a safe and secure location copies of all relevant documents. We have a number of clients who make a complaint, are escorted out, and are not able to retrieve critical documents that are sitting on their computer or in their emails.