How to Write a Formal Letter to a Company About Harassment
Once you decide to write a formal letter complaining about harassment at a company, you can't take back your allegations. Therefore, weigh your decision carefully and be certain you have accurate notes and information to support your claim. A formal letter concerning harassment — whether you're a customer or an employee — must be succinct, straightforward and void of underhanded accusations and suppositions. Don't write your letter when you are angry or upset; wait until you have a clear mind to construct the letter in a professional manner.
Contact the company for the names and titles of the executive leadership team. Select the appropriate recipient for the type of harassment you are addressing in the letter. For example, if you're a current or former employee writing a formal letter to complain about workplace harassment involving a co-worker, supervisor or manager, address your letter to the HR department. If you're a customer who has been harassed about your financial dealings with the company, address your letter to the chief financial officer.
Draft the first paragraph of your letter by introducing yourself and detailing the reason why you are writing. For example, if you're a client who has been harassed by the company's accounts receivable clerk, your introduction should contain your name and affiliation or company, the length of your relationship with the company and a statement. It could read something like, "This is my formal written complaint about the harassment to which I have been subjected by your employee, John Smith, concerning my account." Likewise, if you're writing to the HR department about harassment, indicate where you were employed, the department, your position and supervisors, along with the dates of the alleged harassment.
Provide a synopsis of the events leading up to the incidences of harassment. Whenever possible, give dates, times and locations for each incident you can recall. Include statements directed towards you and the names of witnesses present. Construct factual statements absent of commentary, opinion and subjective remarks. Stick to basic descriptions without editorializing your summary. Avoid the use of inflammatory language or an accusatory tone. For example, instead of writing, "My department supervisor apparently does not respect people based on their cultural differences," you should say, "I did not witness the department supervisor making the same comments to any other employees in the office."
Conclude your letter with additional information, such as whether you have retained an attorney to review your allegations and if you are sending your attorney a copy of the letter. For example, you could say, "By copy of this letter to my attorney, Jane Doe, I am officially notifying your company of my intent to pursue charges of discrimination related to the harassment described above." This is a rather aggressive approach, so use your judgment to determine who forceful you want the letter to be without creating a threatening communication.
If you must include copies of documentation with your letter, do not send your original documents. Provide the addressee with photocopies of your supporting materials and documentation.