What Is Workplace Harassment?

Workplace harassment takes many forms. It affects businesses of all sizes and types. Identifying and dealing with workplace harassment is vital on so many levels to creating a safe work environment and preventing a hostile work environment. Workplace harassment is illegal. It is often not reported out of fear and confusion as to what constitutes harassment.

A common form of workplace harassment is verbal. It can be unending and destructive threatening one’s health and career. It is characterized by demeaning comments, offensive gestures, and unreasonable criticism. It can be delivered in the form of insults, slurs, inappropriate jokes, and hurtful comments. Verbal harassment can be in a grey area and the inappropriate interactions are sometimes wrongly attributed to personality conflicts though the victim can experience depression and anxiety as a result.

Psychological harassment and verbal harassment are different from each other though similar. Psychological harassment is more subtle and uses exclusionary methods such as withholding information. These approaches are employed to emotionally break down the individual by lessening their self-esteem and undermining them. It can take the form of psychological bullying by making unreasonable demands, requiring inappropriate and demeaning tasks, constantly opposing everything the individual says, and more.

Cyberbullying is digital harassment. It is as powerful as face-to-face bullying. It can be more potent as people tend to be more brazen when online than in person. Digital harassment ranges from threatening and demeaning posts on social media, making a webpage to demean someone, bullying someone online via a fake persona, to making false allegations against them. Some of this harassing is done under the guise of free speech. Cyberbullying is documentable which helps with reporting and proving it.

Physical harassment ranges from unwanted gestures involving simple touching to physical assault, threats of violence, and damage to personal property. Some physical harassment is sometimes inappropriately regarded as a joke if there is no physical harm.

Sexual harassment is a serious and not uncommon crime. It impacts all genders with women more often being victims than men. All genders can be perpetrators or victims. It is not always clear when behavior should be defined as sexual harassment. It is most often conducted as mild banter or inoffensive comments paired with sexual gestures or tones. It includes language that portrays particular genders negatively. Sexual harassment certainly includes unwanted sexual advances that may involve requiring sexual favors for job security, sharing pornography, sexual jokes, and inappropriate touching.

Victims of workplace harassment are all individuals affected by the offensive conduct.
Claims of harassment, whether there is physical evidence or not, need to be taken seriously, thoroughly investigated, and acted on quickly and as discreetly as possible. The sooner they are acted on the easier they will be to stop. A safe and positive work environment is created by well planned and consistently practiced individual policies in the workplace.

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