Be bold. Be heard.
We listen, investigate and resolve issues quickly and fairly.
When your company partners with Work Shield, you have a safe and effective way to deal with and solve all your workplace harassment and discrimination issues.
We are an independent partner who handles all aspects of an incident - harassment reporting, investigations and resolutions - so you don't have to worry about retaliation or a hostile work environment.
In turn, more incidents get reported, less harassment happens, and you can get back to being you.
Employees report incidents directly to Work Shield through a safe, secure platform, ensuring there is no retaliation from employers.
Every incident reported to Work Shield is a priority. All concerns are heard, are important, and are investigated quickly.
Work Shield experts are trained to conduct investigations without bias, so you can be certain to receive fair treatment.
With Work Shield, incidents are resolved fairly, effectively and efficiently. We provide resolutions in about five days.
We hear you.
We've heard, investigated and solved hundreds of workplace harassment and discrimination incidents - you could even say we're the experts.
We've found that employees typically have a lot of questions, including whether or not something that has happened is considered harassment. So we've provided answers to some of the most commonly asked questions here that you will hopefully find useful. If your answer isn't here, feel free to get in touch. We probably know the answer.
Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO I FILE AN INCIDENT REPORT?
There are two secure ways to file an incident report
- Work Shield's Website - Just click here and you will be directed to the online reporting portal. There, you will be instructed to set up an account. Don't worry, you are still able to submit an anonymous report. Work Shield will not disclose your information to your employer if you choose to submit an anonymous report.
- By Phone - Call 1.866.946.5558 to talk with a live person. Someone is available to take your call all day, every day. You will be asked to provide some personal information, which will be passed along to one of our Work Shield specialists. Then we will get back in touch with you quickly. Even though you provide your contact information, you are still able to submit an anonymous report. Work Shield will not will not disclose your information to your employer if you choose to submit an anonymous report.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I FILE A REPORT?
Once your incident report is submitted, a copy of the report is sent to you and to Work Shield. We will review the information and begin investigating the incident. The investigation may include follow-up questions for you and any person involved in the incident.
After the investigation is complete, Work Shield submits a certified resolution recommendation to your employer. The entire process takes about five days.
HOW DO I KNOW IF WHAT I EXPERIENCED IS HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION?
In general, if what happened made you feel uncomfortable or that you were unfairly or badly treated, we suggest you go ahead and file an incident report with Work Shield. We are specially trained to investigate these types of incidents.
WHAT KINDS OF INCIDENTS MAY I REPORT?
Work Shield manages all types of workplace harassment and discrimination incidents. Including bullying and unfair treatment due to race, color, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age or disability.
MAY I USE WORK SHIELD TO REPORT AN INCIDENT I WITNESSED, BUT WAS NOT PART OF?
Absolutely. Work Shield is in place because your employer has a zero tolerance policy for harassment and discrimination and is committed to providing a postive workplace culture to its employees. You are encouraged to report incidents, whether or not you were involved.
IS THERE A TIME FRAME FOR REPORTING AN INCIDENT?
It's always best to report an incident as soon as possible after it occurs. This allows us to capture as many of the details as possible. If an incident occured a while back, we still recommend submitting a report, and Work Shield will investigate as thoroughly as possible.
MAY I START AN INCIDENT REPORT NOW, AND FINISH IT LATER?
As long as you keep the browser tab or window open, your answers will still be there. If you close the tab or window where you’re using the Incident Report Form, we immediately delete your data to protect your private information.
I CHANGED MY MIND. HOW DO I STOP A REPORT AFTER IT HAS BEEN SUBMITTED?
You can email Work Shield at firstname.lastname@example.org with your report ID and a copy of your report (it was emailed to you) and ask that we delete the data and stop any investigation that may be in process. We will let you know we received the email and when report has been deleted.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I SUBMIT AN ANONYMOUS REPORT?
If you choose to submit an anonymous report, the report will be sent to your employer without any personal information. Work Shield may conduct the investigation and provide resolution recommendations to the employer, but it is not guaranteed
HOW DO I KNOW MY REPORT IS NOT TAMPERED WITH?
Each report is a PDF that is timestamped with its submission. Anyone who accesses the report with Adobe Reader can verify that it was not altered after the date and time stated in the PDF.
WHO HANDLES INCIDENT INVESTIGATIONS?
Work Shield and its team handle each investigation. We partner with specially trained legal professionals from national law firm Calhoun, Bhella & Sechrest, LLP (CBS), who manage the investigation process and provide resolution recommendations with sincerity and without bias.
Although most, if not all, investigations are done via phone or email, CBS has offices in New York, Washington DC, North Carolina, California and Texas.
IS MY EMPLOYER RESPONSIBLE IF SOMEONE TREATS ME POORLY AT WORK?
If left untreated after notification, yes. For example, if a supervisor harasses you and this results in a hostile work environment (i.e., workplace harassment), your employer may be liable unless it can demonstrate that:
- It reasonably and promptly tried to correct the harassing behavior (i.e., you need to give notice via the Incident Report Form); and
- you unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities available.
With reporting through Work Shield, you can be assured that your employer will take every matter seriously, as will Work Shield and our team.
SHOULD I BE CONCERNED ABOUT RETALIATION AFTER I REPORT AN INCIDENT?
Your employer is not allowed to treat you negatively or retaliate against you when you engage in "protected activity", which includes filing an incident report
Engaging in protected activity includes any of the following:
- Filing a charge of discrimination or harassment;
- resisting sexual advances or intervening to protect others;
- asking for an accommodation of your disability or religious practices;
- participating in an investigation into discrimination;
- participating in an investigation into discrimination;
Examples of retaliation include:
- Firing you because you told your employer that you were being discriminated against because of your disability.;
- Giving you negative performance evaluations because you told your employer that you were being sexually harassed by your manager.
- Giving you a bad reference because you resigned, claiming that you had been discriminated against because of your race.;
- Threatening to report you to immigration authorities because you supported a colleague’s complaints.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION?
There are two main types of discrimination:
Your employer treats you differently than somebody else because you are a member of a protected class (e.g. because of your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or age). Discrimination simply has to be a ‘motivating factor’ in the treatment. Some examples include:
- Your employer doesn’t give you a promotion because you’re a woman and the manager thinks you’re likely to get pregnant soon.
- Your manager gives you a lower bonus than your male colleague because you’re a woman and she thinks that you aren’t likely to be the breadwinner.
- You’re not invited out for work lunches because you are a homosexual and your colleague, who organizes the lunches, disapproves of your lifestyle
- Uses a neutral employment policy/practice (one which applies to everyone);
- this has a disproportionately adverse impact on members of a protected class (e.g. women or black people); and
- the policy/practice is not job-related and necessary for the operation of the organization.
- Some examples of disparate impact discrimination might be:
- Everyone has to be six feet tall.
- Everyone has to speak English.
- Everyone has to work on Saturdays.
- Everybody has to work evenings.
WHAT IS WORKPLACE HARASSMENT?
Workplace harassment occurs when someone at your workplace subjects you to:
- Unwelcome conduct (e.g. offensive jokes, comments, insults, images, threats, physical assaults);
- that is based on your protected class (e.g. your race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability, or age); and
- this conduct either:
- becomes a condition of continued employment; or
- is severe or pervasive enough to create a working environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive; or
- results in an adverse employment decision (e.g. being fired, demoted, given fewer shifts, or given a smaller bonus).
The person harassing you can be your supervisor, another supervisor, a colleague, your employer’s agent, or a non-employee (such as a client or customer).
Generally, annoyances and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not amount to unlawful harassment.
Some examples of harassment may include:
- You are a woman and receive an offensive sexual present as a ‘secret Santa’ present.
- You have clinical depression and your manager makes a comment suggesting that depression isn’t a real thing—you’re just being lazy and need to ‘cheer up.’
- You receive an email chain letter sent around the office which portrays black people as having big noses.
- Your supervisor tells a homophobic or sexist joke, which offends you.
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment is similar to non-sexual harassment but the ‘unwelcome conduct’ will be things like unwelcome advances, requests for sexual favors, comments of a sexual nature, or unwelcome sexual touching.
Some examples of sexual harassment may include:
- Your manager slaps you on the rear and tries to brush up against you.
- Your colleague regularly comes on to you, asking you out and refusing to take no for an answer.
- Your supervisor suggests that you should do Skype meetings while naked from the waist down, so that he can picture or imagine what you look like during the meeting.
WHAT IS A PROTECTED CLASS?
These are specific things about you that might distinguish you from other people. The following are regarded as protected classes that you might be a member of:
- Age: Federal/EEOC protection only applies to those aged 40+, but some states have laws that will protect you if you’re younger.
- Pregnancy: You must be treated in the same way as any other temporarily disabled employee—e.g. provided with light duties, unpaid leave, or alternative assignments.
- Race/Color: This can include personal characteristics associated with race, such as hair texture or facial features. It can also include being connected to or married to someone of a certain race or color.
- Religion/Belief: Includes traditional organized religions and other sincerely held religious, ethical, or moral beliefs. It can also include being connected to or married to someone of a certain religion/belief.
- Sex: Includes gender identity, transgender status, and sexual orientation (according to the EEOC).
- National origin: This includes being from a particular country/part of the world, having a particular accent, or being of a particular ethnicity.
DO I HAVE TO BE PART OF A PROTECTED CLASS TO BE SUBJECT TO WORKPLACE HARASSMENT OR DISCRIMINATION?
No. Workplace harassment is also unlawful when it occurs:
- By association—e.g. racist comments are made to you because your partner is African American, or you are not given a promotion because your son has special needs.
- By wrongful perception—e.g. you are harassed for being homosexual when you are actually heterosexual, or you are harassed for being Muslim when you are actually Hindu.
AM I ENTITLED TO PROTECTIONS AGAINST HARASSMENT AND DISCRIMINATION?
Yes. In the employment context, you’re generally entitled to protection against harassment and discrimination if you are:
- A job applicant
- An employee
- An applicant or participant in a training or apprenticeship program
- A former employee
You’re generally not entitled to protection if you’re an independent contractor.