Self-Advocating at work

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Key Points

  • ‘speaking up’ doesn’t mean you have to communicate verbally
  • advocating for yourself at work might happen in different ways
  • you might need to make a phone call, attend a meeting, write an email or letter
  • there are things that you can do to prepare to self-advocate.


How to request a meeting

Depending on the situation, the ways that you can request a meeting might include:

  • asking directly
  • sending an email
  • completing an online form
  • using an online booking system

You should choose the one that you are most comfortable with.

How to prepare

  • tell the person your accessibility needs for the meeting, if you have any
  • organise a support person if needed
  • write down the things you want to say
  • write down your questions
  • bring copies of relevant documents
  • bring a notepad and pen or use a device to take notes.

During the meeting

You might like to record the following information:

  • the name of the people in the meeting and their roles
  • the time and date of the meeting
  • what was said to you
  • if you needed to follow up something.

Phone calls

How to prepare

  • write down the things you want to say
  • write down your questions
  • have copies of relevant documents available to you
  • have a notepad and pen or device available to take notes
  • make sure you’re in a quiet environment
  • try to choose a time when the phone line won’t be busy.

During the phone call

You might like to record the following information:

  • the name of the person you spoke to and their role
  • the time and date of the phone call
  • what was said to you
  • if you have to follow up on something.

Emails and letters

How to write an email or letter

  1. Subject line – write the purpose of your email or letter. Keep it short and simple.


  • meeting request
  • appointment enquiry
  • incident report. 
  1. Greeting – address the person you are contacting


  • Dear <name>
  • Hello <name>
  • To whom it may concern
  1. Opening line - why you are contacting them


  • I am an employee in the environmental department of your company, and I wish to report workplace bullying
  • I am contacting you to request an appointment with one of your advocates to discuss a workplace issue.
  1. Body of email or letter – write details about what happened or what you want


  • For the past week, I have been receiving daily harassing emails from <name>. I have attached copies of the emails I have received. I am familiar with the company’s harassment policy, and I wish to proceed with a formal complaint process. I would appreciate you advising me of the next step.
  • I am having increased difficulty coping with the office environment and I would like to meet with you to discuss workplace adjustments. Can you please let me know when you are free for a meeting?
  1. Closing line – the end of the email or letter


  • Kind regards
  • Thank you


  • include your contact details and preferred method of contact
  • if you are sending a photo or document, make sure that you include or attach it
  • avoid sending an email or letter when you are angry or upset, as this can impact on your ability to communicate your needs.

Case story

Ben has been the victim of workplace bullying for a few months. He reported it to his boss three weeks ago, but his boss has not done anything. So, he decides to send an email to head office and put in a formal complaint. Two days later he is contacted by Human Resources (HR) to request a meeting. They meet with them the following week, where they go through the complaint process.

Real Life Story

Real Life Story