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How to Write to Your Boss About Abuse in the Workplace

by Jill Leviticus

Verbal, sexual or physical abuse affects your ability to perform your job and can affect your health. Fear of retaliation or a feeling that the company won’t care can stop employees from reporting abuse. If no one reports the abuse, it may continue and might affect many other employees. If you decide you can no longer tolerate workplace abuse, it’s important to put your concerns in writing to create a record of your complaint.

Gather all evidence regarding the abuse. If you’ve kept a log of the incidents, review your log and write the incidents in chronological order. Review notes from your doctor regarding injuries or negative effects on your health from the abuse if you don't recall the exact date of an incident.

Consult your employee handbook or human resources department for information about submitting a complaint. In addition to your letter, you might be required to submit a form regarding the abuse.

Begin your letter by noting that you are informing your boss of abuse by a company employee. Explain that you value your relationship with the company, but feel that the current work environment is unsafe due to the actions of the employee who is abusing or harassing you.

List each instance of abuse. Note the date, time, place and people involved. For example, “Bill Jones pushed me against the wall and called me stupid and incompetent on February 3, 2013 at 2:40 p.m. in the first floor break room.” The Business News Daily website suggests that you avoid making value judgments about the person and don’t use emotional language, as doing these things might make you appear unprofessional.

End the letter with a request that the boss meet with you to discuss your concerns. Tell him that you will contact him in one week to schedule a meeting if you don’t hear from him sooner.

Attach supporting documents to your letter or email. It's important to confirm that your boss receives the correspondence. If you’ve written a letter, print it, sign it and hand deliver it to your supervisor’s office. Ask him to confirm that he received your email if you submit your complaint that way.

Items you will need
  • List of incidents
  • Doctor's notes and other supporting evidence

Tip

  • Keep a copy of your letter or email and your supporting evidence at home. You’ll want to make sure these important documents aren’t lost or stolen. You might need them should you need to take legal action against your company.

Warning

  • Don’t hesitate to escalate your complaint if you don’t receive a satisfactory response from your boss or company. If the abuse involves harassment due to age, national origin, disability, color, race or sex, you might be able to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

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