The Pros and Cons of Reporting Harassment to HR

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?

Some examples are:

  • Stop the harassment/discrimination
  • Put it on the record
  • Get your harasser removed from your department, reporting structure or the company

Pros for Reporting to HR

  • Hands the issue over to a third party to help resolve the problem
  • Puts the harassment/discrimination on the record 
  • Potential to hold the harasser accountable for their actions
  • Potential to prevent future harassment and discrimination
  • Makes the company accountable to investigate and resolve the issue
  • Makes the company accountable for any harassment/discrimination after you report

Cons for reporting to HR

  • You give up control to a third party and their process
  • HR’s priority and process is to protect the company’s interest first
  • Potential for retaliation from the company, including loss of promotions, opportunities, and/or job
  • Potential for retaliation from coworkers, including gossip and distrust for “snitching”
  • You may be perceived as disloyal to the company
  • Your work history will be included in the investigation, even if it is not relevant to your complaint
  • Your complaint may not remain confidential during the investigation

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