Employee Harassment: Different Kinds And Steps to Avoid It

Employee harassment at the workplace happens when an individual or a group of employees feel threatened or denigrated by their coworkers. A workplace harasser’s primary goal is to make their victims feel vulnerable and uneasy. Workplace harassment includes “workplace bullying,” “manhandling,” “workplace aggression,” and more

Harassment includes various forms of segregation and acts of infringement that are not limited to a single group. Harassment occurs when different groups get targeted, such as women, racial minorities, sexual minorities, individuals with disabilities, and immigrants. Fundamentally, workplace harassment necessitates a multiethnic arrangement because it cannot be defined- in a single clear and solid definition.

Understanding Employee Harassment

Many people have gained the confidence to speak openly about aggressive workplace behavior due to recent movements that rose. Nonetheless, many people remain hesitant to talk about it and report harassing behaviors by coworkers or managers. 

In addition, workplace harassment is a prevalent practice, rarely discussed or spoken about, creating an adverse and abusive environment. Many people are unsure of what constitutes workplace harassment; as a result, the majority of cases go unnoticed and uninvestigated.

We have all witnessed aggressive work environments, which cause many employees to quit their companies. But we never think of the root cause or why certain employees are only seen in isolated incidents.

They may be getting harassed in some way or the other. The key to any organization’s growth is its resources; yes, we’re talking about its workforce. A disturbing and unpleasant work environment can harm your company’s productivity, labor relations, and reputation in the corporate world. As a result, maintaining dignity and practicing zero tolerance for harassment is essential for the evolution of any company’s operations.

Different Kinds of Employee Harassments

Workplace harassment may or may not have material evidence, but we cannot deny its existence. Harassment in the workplace can take many forms, including verbal or physical harassment, sexual favors, psychological or emotional abuse, and so on.

  1. Oral harassment

Victims of verbal bullying frequently face a never-ending battle for survival, putting their health and careers in jeopardy. Derogatory slurs, offensive gestures, and unjustified criticisms are all examples of verbal harassment. 

Because this is a non-physical type of assault, it often includes insults such as fat-shaming/body-shaming puns, nasty remarks, and undesired taunting. Because it is a grey area, HR managers and supervisors must be on the lookout for harassment.

  1. Mental Harassment

Psychological harassment is similar to verbal abuse in that it is more subtle and involves tactics such as maintaining confidentiality. Victims of such harassment are more likely to suffer from mental breakdowns, low self-esteem, and self-defeating behaviors. 

Claiming credit for others’ accomplishments, making unreasonable demands, enforcing impossible deadlines on an employee, pressuring someone to work outside their job scope, and so on are all examples of psychological harassment. It is a type of intentional mental bullying.

  1. Online bullying

The most recent type of harassment is virtual harassment, also known as cyberbullying. Even if it occurs online, it is just as derogatory as physical harassment. Also, using social media nowadays has become the new norm. As a result, anybody can harass anyone online with the power of free speech. 

People can create fictitious personas to mock or bully their coworkers. However, there is some good news about cyberbullying that victims can record. Someone subjected to such inequality and harassment can record the incidents in visuals, saved emails, and many more. Victims of physical harassment can easily report such aggressive behaviors this way.

  1. Harassment of a Sexual Nature

Sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious crime that is far more common than you’d think. It is a crime that is not limited to women. Sexual misconduct can be perpetrated or orchestrated by anyone of any gender. As per a survey, 40% of female participants and 14% of male participants have experienced harassment in the workplace. 

Unwanted contact, sending obscene texts and videos, requesting sexual favors, and making comments that include vulgar gestures are all examples of sexual harassment. Most of the time, these occurrences go unnoticed and uninvestigated, and as a result, offenders frequently get away with their behavior. 

Many victims do not want to talk about it because they believe it will get better, but it only worsens. However, if a sex offender is making a person uncomfortable, they must get reported.

  1. External Harassment

There are various levels of physical harassment and discrimination. Harassment includes inappropriate touching of clothing or skin, as well as violent attacks, threats, or damage to personal property. 

Gender minority communities and LGBTQIA+ individuals are more likely to be subjected to such workplace harassment. Moreover, if a situation escalates into violence, employees must complain and take strict disciplinary action against the perpetrators.

How Should Workplace Harassment Be Reported?

Every organization has a human resources department designed to assist employees who are in critical situations. Good human resource practices ensure better employee security and job stability. It likewise warrants whether the employees are uncomfortable or in danger or get defied by a coworker. 

The absence of physical evidence in most complaints or harassing conduct should not deter a complainant from filing a formal complaint. Experts say that disclosing workplace harassment is necessary because there may be concerns from other victims who have experienced similar offenses from the same offender. 

While many larger organizations have stringent anti-harassment policies, some smaller organizations may not. As a result, employees, as well as leaders and Human resource managers, are motivated to take the following steps:

  • Attempt a calm one-on-one discussion with the harasser. Request that they refrain from making disparaging remarks about your employees (victims). However, if the harassment is physical, avoid confronting the harasser and instead take some action. 
  • If an employee complains about harassment and you notice that the offender is in a position of authority, bring the matter to the attention of HR if your aims to resolve it with the assaulter fail. Consider offering evidence, such as screenshots, eyewitnesses, or SMS messages, if you have any. 
  • As a manager, if you believe your company did not handle employee complaints diligently, contact the EEOC, which can conduct an impartial investigation into the incident. As they have their legislation and agencies governing workplace behavior, assist your employees in reaching out to them. 

Managing Employee Harassment in the Workplace

The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) recommends that victims first attempt to solve the situation by contacting the offending individual directly. They must Describe their feelings and the intolerable language or behavior and ask that it get stopped. 

Moreover, if employees are unhappily encountering any harassment, another option is to consult the manager for assistance. If the offender is their boss or manager, they can contact the HR Department department or their superintendent’s boss and request a remedy. 

Furthermore, many organizations have assigned an EEO or workplace complaint officer who specializes in these issues, and employees can reach them for a highly classified consultation. 

Final Words 

A good, positive, and harassment-free workplace exterminates toxicity and assists in employee engagement and improved productivity. Therefore, every organization must make sure its workplace does not foster any harassment and prejudice towards anyone. 

Moreover, to better educate employees regarding harassment, employers, from time to time, conduct regular training that helps prevent workplace employee harassment. 

We at GetImpactly can assist in making it more comfortable to communicate acceptable behavior to your workers with our comprehensive harassment prevention training. Schedule a demo today to learn more.

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Impactly’s online sexual harassment and diversity, equity & inclusion training packages are used by hundreds of organizations across the country. Impactly is powered by Get Inclusive, one of the largest providers of prevention and compliance training for colleges and universities.