What Counts as Harassment in the Work Place?

Workplace harassment is a form of discrimination and is against the law. It’s a shame that some victims encourage it in the name of protecting their positions. Others downplay it as a way of life.

All employees deserve respect whether they are interns, permanent, or contracted. Each office should have a working HR policy on workplace harassment clearly stating what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. The policy should also highlight possible penalties for perpetrators.

How can one know they are being harassed? Here is a detailed list of what counts as workplace harassment.

Different Forms of Harassment at Work

Since harassment often mimics casual treatment, one needs to be keen on how they relate with other colleagues. These are the most common forms of harassment at play today.

Sexual Harassment

This form of harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances to either males or females.  Report a colleague who touches you inappropriately, shares sexual jokes and texts or asks for sexual favors in exchange for promotions.

Third-Party Harassment

This harassment is perpetrated by a person who’s not an employee in your company. They may be supplies, vendors, or customers. In most cases, victims are low-paid workers or people who are perceived to be of low status. Such harassment may not be recognized since most victims fear airing their grievances. However, regardless of your rank, you have a right to respect.

Power Harassment

CEOs, heads of departments, and other seniors violate juniors since they perceive themselves as ‘above the law’. It’s sad that the same people who are supposed to mentor you can be the same people who manipulate you. This form of harassment is very common. 

The harassment may be perpetrated by direct managers or supervisors who have control over reporting performance making it easy to bend the law. It could be through physical violence or verbal intimidation. If you realize your boss is intruding into your personal life, report them.

Discriminatory Harassment

This form of harassment is defined by the intentions of the action. For instance, an employee may experience racial discrimination because of their skin color, citizenship, or race. Other discriminatory harassment includes gender-based, religious, disability-based, and age-based harassment.

Physical Harassment

Also known as workplace violence, physical harassment causes harm to an individual or property. Harassers may kick, hit, threaten, and destroy the victim’s property to bully them. However, even if the person doesn’t get any physical injury from the action, that’s still considered physical harassment.

Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment affects a person’s psychological health and career. Mostly, harassers use demeaning remarks, insults, or offensive jokes on a person. Others in your workplace may not realize this vice unless someone yells or shouts at you in their presence. If not acted on immediately, the victim can develop depression or high blood pressure.

Cyberbullying

This is one of the common harassment done online. Harassers use social media accounts to spread rumors or make threatening statements. Online news spread very fast, and in no time, other workmates and outsiders will join in harassing the victim. Cyberbullying is easily proved, so if you fall victim, take screenshots of the texts and report to the relevant authorities.

Psychological Harassment

This harassment intends to belittle, break down and lower your self–esteem. If a person takes credit for your achievement, challenges every move you make, or makes impossible demands, this is deliberate psychological harassment. Challenge every action to undermine you, even if it’s coming from the bosses in the organization.

In general, harassment is all around. It affects you physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, and professionally. It should not be tolerated regardless of the perpetrator’s position. Every person has an equal right to safety at work.

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