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How Should I Document Workplace Incidents?

Nearly any article you read on workplace harassment, discrimination or unjustified firing will tell you to document everything. That is difficult if the events have already taken place and you have been escorted out.

The best way to protect yourself and your employment in any workplace is to be proactive about documenting interactions with your supervisor and other coworkers, especially if you are wary of them or think there could be trouble with them in the future.

The best time to start documenting is when you start your new job. Here's how to protect yourself before an incident happens.

  • Keep a work diary. Your day planner or schedule works for this purpose just fine. Many employees receive meeting requests that have all who were invited to the meeting. Sending meeting requests or reminders for every event, no matter how small, is a great way to keep record of where you are during the day and who is with you. Include a personal email on your meeting requests so that you have a copy of this at home, too.
  • Keep every document that you are given in meetings with your boss or other supervisors. Write on them the date and who gave it to you.
  • Keep all your work papers at home. If you are terminated unexpectedly, whether it's legal or not, you'll be denied access to everything that's been left at work.
  • Ask to review your personnel file. Even if you aren't having issues, it's a good idea to review your personnel file periodically to make sure it's accurate.

If you do have an incident that you find you need your documentation for, make notes immediately, including a timeline and every individual who was there. Use your documentation to back you up.

If you have been the target of workplace harassment, discrimination or unfair termination, Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. represents clients in federal court and before the EEOC, MSPB and in state and union grievance hearings.

Our attorneys have more than 40 years dedicated to giving clients the attention, advice, support and empowerment they need to effectively meet their goals. We are committed to the principle that all persons shall have equal justice under the law. Call Bouchillon, Crossan & Colburn, L.C. at 304.523.8451 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

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