Should You Report Harassment to HR?

98% of US organizations have a sexual harassment policy, and yet, 72% of victims of sexual harassment never report to HR.

– Career Builder Survey

Making the decision to report harassment or discrimination to your Human Resource department can feel risky. You have to trust the people you are reporting to; you have to trust you will be treated fairly; you have to trust their process; and you have to trust the OUTCOME will not work against you. There is a reason so many people don’t take their complaints to human resources.

If your company has a reporting process that makes it less of a risk to make a complaint, your HR representative may be your best option to find a quick resolution.

To help determine if filing a complaint with HR is a good option for you, we first offer pros and cons, followed with an options guide – 8 Options When Reporting to HR – with associated tasks, warnings, and outcomes, plus an effort/risk meter. And for those who choose to file a complaint with HR, we provide a step-by-step process to help you prepare for the complaint and investigation process.

Regardless of which direction you take, it is your energy, effort, safety and job at risk. Make the right choice for YOU.


  • This is a process. This issue will not be resolved quickly. It will take time.
  • Your HR department represents the company’s interests first. They are looking for the best outcome for the company.
  • Your HR department will manage the process.
  • For your benefit, document everything! See our documentation templates HERE.
Assessing the Benefits and Risks

Before you consider making a complaint to your human resource representative, ask yourself:

  • What outcome do I want?
  • Is my HR department able to help me achieve that outcome?
Eight Options when you report to HR

We have outlined a birds-eye view of your eight possible options. We’ve included tasks, warnings, outcomes, the effort and energy required, and your overall risk

Roles and Responisbilities

Be prepared by understanding your responsibilities and HR’s role in this process.

The HR Reporting, Investigation, and Resolution Process

Knowledge is power. Understanding your HR processes can help you avoid critical missteps and empower you in this process.

If the Problem is Not Resolved

Reporting harassment to your boss may not be an option. And if harassment continues, escalates, or you experience retaliation, you have additional options to consider:

  • Consider making a complaint with your HR department
  • Consider filing a complaint with the EEOC
  • If you are considering leaving your job due to ongoing harassment, see this article about constructive discharge (What is Constructive Discharge), or consider consulting an attorney to negotiate an exit with a settlement
  • Remember to document everything

Share your experience and recommendations on our Facebook Group HERE.

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