What does harassment look like at work?

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Workplace Discrimination

Everyone goes to work and sees the same faces every day. This familiarity could blur the boundaries regarding social interactions, making it difficult to determine if their actions and words toward you are shocking jokes or harassment.

Fortunately, the law has provisions against all types of harassment. The first step to addressing it is knowing what it looks like. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) specifically identified the following as harassment in the workplace:

  • Offensive jokes, slurs or names
  • Physical assault, intimidation or threats
  • Any form of ridicule and mockery
  • Degrading insults
  • Offensive objects, photos or other media that hinder work functions

Still, some forms of harassment could be subtle, depending on the circumstances. Details are crucial, including the harasser’s authority over the victim and who is the victim. Sometimes, a person could take offense from harassment aimed at another person. Regardless, it benefits the workplace when someone reports these incidents.

What should I do after a harassment incident?

You should report it to a human resources representative immediately. By raising the alarm, they could determine if the harasser does it habitually or victimizes multiple people, allowing them to pinpoint the case’s severity.

A workplace typically has policies to address these issues. They should be in the employee handbook. Otherwise, the representative could help guide you through the process. However, some employers might not have official procedures in place. If they fail to address the problem adequately, you could go directly to the EEOC. Doing so includes an impartial party to investigate the harassment case and determine the appropriate action. Sometimes, the victim could file a claim based on the situation.

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