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How Do I Write a Harassment Letter?

Jessica Ellis
Updated May 17, 2024
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A harassment letter is a written notification asking for the cessation of any actions that are deemed inappropriate or harassing. There are many different situations in which drafting a harassment letter may be appropriate, including to personal acquaintances, work colleagues, and businesses. Writing a harassment letter can take some time to get right; it is important to carefully word the letter so that it is clear, concise, and not offensive in its own right. How a harassment letter should be written will depend on the circumstances of the individual situation; a letter to a personal friend may be very different than a cease-and-desist note to a business.

Occasionally, differing moral, ethical, or even cultural standards may lead a person to feel harassed by an individual considered a friend. Since it may be difficult to express concerns in person, a letter may be a good way to organize thoughts and express sincere concern over the matter. An informal letter about harassment behavior needs to get the point across without further inflaming the situation, it is often important to stress that, while the behavior is not acceptable and must cease, the writer hopes this can be accomplished so that a friendship can continue. It may help to express kindness and hope for the future, so that the letter recipient does not feel attacked or injured.

Letters where personal feelings or friendship are not concerned are often far more straightforward, but still need to be diplomatic. Using clear terminology, it is important to stress the writer construes certain behaviors as harassment and that they must cease immediately. If harassment is taking place at work, it may be worthwhile to cite company anti-harassment letters. Save a copy of this type of letter, and consider submitting a letter about the situation to a supervisor or manager. While this type of harassment letter will hopefully bring about a resolution, it can also serve as documentation of a complaint, should the behavior continue.

Many regions have laws prohibiting the harassment of debtors and consumers by businesses. People are often hesitant to write a harassment letter to a creditors when they are behind on payments, but certain behaviors remain harassment regardless of the situation. Calling at late or extremely early hours, making threats, contacting employers or family members are often illegal acts of nuisance, and can result in legal action.

Writing a cease-and-desist letter to creditors or businesses creates documentation of the problem, and may allow for legal action if the harassment continues. These letters should list the specific behaviors, incidents, and times of harassment, and detail why the behavior is unacceptable. If possible, keep records of any communications from a harassing company. While being harassed does not excuse a person from paying his or her debts, it is important to remember that two wrongs do not make a right, and the creditor may be just as much at fault as the debtor.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Jessica Ellis
By Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis brings a unique perspective to her work as a writer for WiseGeek. While passionate about drama and film, Jessica enjoys learning and writing about a wide range of topics, creating content that is both informative and engaging for readers.
Discussion Comments
By Lostnfound — On Mar 13, 2014

Harassment letters should always include documentation. "On this date, this happened." Letters with clear documentation help legitimize the writer's points, and can prove valuable if legal action is ever taken.

It should go without saying that the letter should be given to someone for editing and proofreading. Right or wrong, a mistake in such a letter casts doubt on the writer's credibility. The letter should be error-free. Also, an objective reader can better assess whether the writer makes the necessary points in a clear, credible fashion and can point out areas where the letter could be improved.

Jessica Ellis
Jessica Ellis
With a B.A. in theater from UCLA and a graduate degree in screenwriting from the American Film Institute, Jessica Ellis...
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