What are my options as an employee when I am being harassed in the workplace?

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2012

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What are my options as an employee when I am being harassed in the workplace?

On several occasions a student has threatened violence towards me, and also made harassing phone calls. I spoke to my employer immediately, and they advised that they would handle it. It has now been 18 months, and the student is still harassing me and making physical threats. I reported it to police today, however my employer has stated that they do not agree with my actions. Was I wrong to report this? What are my rights? I worried for my safety and nothing was being done for the last 18 months.

Asked on August 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You have the legal right to report the harassment to the police. However, your employer also has the legal right to take disciplinary action against you or even fire you if it thinks you handled this improperly. 

You do not have the right to make the employer take prospective or forward looking action against this student, such as suspend, transfer, expel, etc. him or her. But if injured by the student, you would likely have grounds to sue your employer, because it is negligent, or unreasonably careless, to not take action once a threat is known.

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