According to the United States Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, harassment in the workplace is based on a person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. It must be severe enough that a reasonable person would find it difficult to work in those conditions. You may be wondering what different types of harassment looks like in the workplace. Here are a few thinks that you should be aware of.
Verbal harassment may be the most common type of harassment in the workplace. It can be as simple as asking about someone’s family medical history in a derogatory way. It may also be imitating someone’s speech pattern or accent behind their back.
In some cases, it may also be sexually implicit or inappropriate in other regards, such as repeatedly asking someone on a date who isn’t interested. Many people have had to step down from important positions because of sexual innuendos in the workplace.
The problem with written harassment in the workplace is often that it begins out innocently. Some worker sees a pornographic picture on the internet. He or she sends it to a coworker. Soon, the whole office has seen the pornographic material whether they want to or not. Other examples, include writing derogatory comments about someone and posting them where others can see. Social media can even be used to create this type of harassment in the workplace. Excessive texting can even be a form of written harassment if that communication is unwanted or if the content is rude or vulgar.
Assume for a moment that a worker has a comic—such as one that makes fun of others by criticizing their politics or religious beliefs—posted at their workstation. While most people would find it humorous, there may be those in the office who are offended by its content and complain that they are being harassed.
Others may find that wearing vulgar or sexually explicit clothing causes them to feel harassed. Even showing someone a message on your phone containing content you would not be comfortable with everyone seeing is a form of harassment. Bosses and supervisors should routinely check workspaces for any signs of visual harassment so that everyone can feel comfortable in the workplace.
Many employers have problems with physical harassment in their workplace. Physical harassment can be any move that is unwelcomed by another person involved in the incident. For example, one employee may decide to rough house with another employee who is either not expecting it or is unwilling to participate in that type of behavior. The problem for employers is that if anyone becomes injured, then the worker can file workers comp. If a company has a culture where employees tend to get physical with each other, it’s time to put an end to that—for the wellbeing of employees and for the legal protection of the business.
Ending harassment in the workplace is easier said than done. By implementing standards and changing the company culture, though, it is possible.