It’s no longer news that workplace harassment has been on the rise in recent years. This affects many people in their working environment and can be harmful to both employees and employers.
Harassment could be visibly seen in cases where an employee is subjected to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on sex, race, color, national origin, age, religion, disability, or any other protected characteristic under federal law.
Although many victims of workplace harassment think they can recognize harassment and report it to those in charge, harassment often leaves them in an uncomfortable and confused state.
This article will discuss what constitutes workplace harassment, the different types of harassment that can occur, and how to handle it.
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Don’t Let it Happen To You: How to Recognize Workplace Harassment
No one should have to put up with workplace harassment. It can be difficult to recognize, especially if you’ve never experienced it before. Here are some things to look out for:
1. Inappropriate Touching Or Grabbing
If you experience any type of unwanted touching or grabbing at work, it is important to speak up and report the behavior immediately.
You should also keep a record of any incidents that occur, including the date, time, and description of what happened.
By taking these steps, you can help ensure that the perpetrator is held accountable for their actions.
Read also: How to Manage Internal Stress at Work
2. Leering Or Making Sexual Advances
Leering or making sexual advances in the workplace is a form of harassment. It can be extremely uncomfortable for the victim and may make it difficult to do their job.
This type of behavior can also be illegal. Employers should have a policy in place that prohibits this type of behavior and outlines the consequences for those who engage in it.
Victims of leering or sexual advances should report the behavior to their supervisor or human resources department.
3. Sending Explicit Emails Or Text Messages
Sending explicit emails or text messages can be a form of abuse. This is especially true if the recipient did not ask for or want the graphic material.
Unfortunately, this type of behavior is often used by perpetrators as a way to exert power and control over their victims.
In addition to being extremely inappropriate, sending explicit content at work can also lead to disciplinary action from your employer.
4. Derogatory Remarks On Appearance Or Intelligence
Derogatory remarks about someone’s appearance or intelligence can be extremely hurtful and damaging in the workplace. Such comments can constitute workplace harassment,
Employees who are the targets of such remarks may feel belittled and humiliated, which can lead to decreased productivity and motivation.
Employers should take steps to ensure that all employees feel respected and valued, regardless of their appearance or intelligence.
This includes establishing anti-harassment policies and training employees on how to identify and report harassing behavior.
5. Exemption From Work Activities Or Conversations
According to a study done by the Workplace Bullying Institute, 64% of workers reported that they have been ignored or excluded from conversations. This type of harassment can be very damaging to one’s career and self-esteem.
When someone is ignored or excluded from conversations, it sends the message that they are not important and that their opinion doesn’t matter.
This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can impact one’s work performance and productivity.
6. Invasion Of Personal Space
There is a reason we have our personal space, and it’s not just to give us room to breathe. It’s a buffer zone that we create around ourselves to help us feel safe and secure.
When someone invades our personal space, they can make us feel uncomfortable or even unsafe.
This is especially true in the workplace, where harassment can occur when someone crosses the line and invades someone else’s personal space.
This type of behavior can be extremely disruptive and can impact both the victim’s work performance and their emotional well-being.
7. Offensive Jokes Or Comments
This is a sign of workplace harassment making jokes or comments about someone’s race, gender identity, religion, sexual orientation, or disability is never okay.
Not only can these remarks be hurtful and insulting, but they can also lead to charges of workplace harassment.
If you’re not sure whether a joke is appropriate or not, it’s best to err on the side of caution. If someone takes offense to a remark you make, apologize and move on. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
How to Report Workplace Harassment Before It’s Too Late
If you experience or recognize any of these behaviors mentioned above, it is important to speak up and report them.
The following is a guide on how to report workplace harassment.
- The first step is to talk to someone you trust about what’s been happening. This could be a friend, family member, or coworker. They can help you figure out what steps to take next.
- If you feel safe doing so, you can also try talking to the person who is harassing you.
This can sometimes be the quickest way to stop the behavior. However, it’s important to do this in a way that feels safe for you and doesn’t put you in any further danger.
- Talk to your supervisor; they may not be aware of the situation and may be able to help resolve the issue. They may also be required to report the harassment if it is severe enough.
- If talking to your supervisor doesn’t help, or if you feel like you are in danger, you should contact HR. They will investigate the situation and may take disciplinary actions.
- File a complaint with EEOC if you feel your supervisor or HR if you feel the matter was satisfactorily handled to your taste. The EEOC investigates and makes sure that the matter is handled impartially.
Types Of Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment can come in many different forms. Some of the more common types of harassment include verbal, physical, and sexual harassment.
1. Verbal Harassment
This involves offensive comments or jokes about a person’s race, religion, gender, or other protected characteristic.
This type of behavior can be extremely demeaning and create a hostile work environment.
2. Physical Harassment
This type of workplace harassment has to deal with very intimidating behaviors that make it difficult for the victim to do their job.
It can include unwanted touching, pushing, or slapping.
3. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is any type of unwanted sexual attention or conduct. This can include unwelcome advances, and requests for sexual favors.
Sexual harassment is illegal under federal law, and victims have the right to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Also read: Reasons Why You Should Work From Home
4. Digital Harassment
This involves using technology to harass or intimidate someone, often in a sexual or aggressive way. It can be anything from sending unwanted emails and texts to posting embarrassing or damaging information online.
Digital harassment can be very damaging to victims’ mental health and careers.
It can make them feel unsafe and uncomfortable in their own workplace, and may even lead to them quitting their job. Victims often feel embarrassed and ashamed.
Employers should have a clear policy on digital harassment, detailing what is and isn’t tolerated. They should also provide training on how to recognize and deal with digital harassment cases.
Workplace harassment is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. It can affect employees’ physical and emotional health, as well as their work performance.
If you experience or witness workplace harassment, it is important to report it immediately. There are several ways to do so, depending on your company’s policies.
If you don’t feel comfortable reporting it to your supervisor, there are other avenues available to you, such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Remember, you are not alone!!