How To Resolve Harassment At The Workplace: What You Need to Know

How To Resolve Harassment At The Workplace: What You Need to Know

The Facts

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Focusing on how to resolve harassment at the workplace, is crucial for any company that is subjected to bullying or harassment at a shared workplace. Workplace harassment is an umbrella term that encompasses a lot of events that qualify as harassment. In this article, we will try to look at some of the different types of workplace harassment and how to resolve these issues at the workplace.

A Few Conditions of Workplace Harassment

There are a few conditions or characteristics to be considered for something to be labeled as workplace harassment

  • Harassment may or may not have physical evidence. 
  • According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassment can include offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name-calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.
  • The harasser could be a supervisor of the harassed employee or a supervisor in another area. This is the most common dynamic between a harasser and harassed. But the harasser can be anyone like a co-worker or an agent of the employee or a client/non-employee. Usually, the harasser is higher up in the social or employment hierarchy. 
  • There are a lot of gray areas when harassment is considered. There might or might not be any economic injury or discharge to the victim.
  • You cannot lose your job by simply reporting harassment at the workplace. 
  • You are not only protected from your harasser by law, but you are also protected from an employer who fails to protect you from harassment. 

If you remember these things, dealing with harassment becomes a lot easier. The first condition of resolving workplace harassment is to know your rights and laws that protect you. 

Different Types of Workplace Harassment

There are almost twenty kinds of sexual harassment of which we will be discussing only ten. But the others will be mentioned later.

  • Physical Harassment

This is one of the most common types of workplace harassment and one of the most noticeable ones. This harassment can occur to your body or your property. For example, if someone keys or damages your car or steals something valuable of yours, it will also be considered physical harassment. Physical harassment also includes threatening behavior or active aggression. 

  • Job Discrimination

Usually, any harassment in work is considered discrimination. But here we are to discuss discriminatory behavior with respect to jobs and not giving employees with qualification responsibilities. This discriminatory behavior may be caused by the implicit bias of the employer or supervisors. 

  • Age Discrimination

Discrimination towards an employee based on their age is also considered harassment. Sometimes aged employees or considerably younger interns become easy targets of bullying and harassment. They can also be discriminated against in terms of job responsibilities because of the implicit bias of employers. 

  • Verbal Abuse

Verbal abuse is one of the more common kinds of harassment that can occur both ways or in a one-sided way. This is actually not illegal. But it can make a workspace unhealthy and compromise the mental health and productivity of the workplace.

  • Psychological Harassment

If someone's action causes another employee's mental well-being to be compromised it is considered psychological harassment. Psychological harassment can include denying someone's presence, dismissing their experience or trauma, spreading rumors about someone,

  • Cyberbullying

Today most of our work is based on the internet. But it is often misused to disturb or harass employees by sending explicit pictures, links, or messages. This is called cyberbullying or harassment. This can include sharing humiliating or disrespectful content on group chat or mail and spreading rumors or pictures of someone without permission. Cyberbullying or harassment may not be directed at a specific person.

  • Third-party Harassment

Third-party harassment is when the perpetrator is not someone who works inside the office or workplace as the victim. It can be the supplier, client, or vendor. 

  • Gender Harassment

Gender harassment is when a person is harassed or discriminated against because of their gender identity or expression. 

  • Quid Pro Quo Harassment

Quid pro quo harassment is when a person in a position of power takes advantage of it by harassing or forcing an employee to do something. Usually, quid pro quo harassment is sexual in nature, and the harasser promises the employee promotion or other professional favor. Sometimes, the employee does it to avoid losing their jobs, getting a job, or avoiding demotion.

  • Retaliation Harassment 

This is one of the more subtle forms of harassment and is often overlooked by us. Retaliation harassment is when someone harasses you for filing a complaint against them. This is how it can happen--A harasses B, B complains about A, A finds out(although they shouldn't) or assumes B complained about them, and B harasses A in order to get revenge. 

How to Resolve Harassment at the Workplace?

Today we are more aware of the harassment and protesting against it than we were ten years ago, so there are a lot of ways to resolve workplace harassment.

  • Workplace-harassment Training 

Keep your eyes open for signs of harassment. The signs may include the absence of an employee or noticeable decline in someone's performance, or visible tension. Often the victims don't complain because they are afraid of losing their jobs. Conducting seminars and training about harassment is really important to bring about these conversations.

  • Know Your Rights and Laws

The reason behind the lack of complaints in spite of the increasing numbers of harassment is that we are not aware of our rights and laws that can protect us. EEOC has a range of laws that protects you from workplace harassment.

  • Use Your Resources

If you know your rights and laws, you will know the resources you have at your disposal and how to use them to your advantage. 

  • Report any Harassment

If you are being harassed at the workplace or think that someone else is, you have to report it. It is illegal not to report any signs or information about workplace harassment. If you become the victim of retaliation and your employer fails to protect you or someone you know, they are also subjected to legal punishments. 

  • Create a Community

Always know that you are not alone in this situation. There must be other victims. The harassers don't give up if someone does not stand up against them. Find other victims and form a community for support.

  • Seek Support from Family and Friends

Communicate with your family and friends. They might be able to help you cope with the trauma and advise you better on handling the situation.

  • Gather Witnesses and Information

If your harasser is your supervisor or a person in a position of power, it is extremely important that you gather witnesses and information about his behavioral issues because otherwise, there can be a chance of them getting away with it. Be prepared.

  • Safeguard the Records

The facts, records, and information of witnesses you collect need to be safeguarded. 

In a Nutshell

The path to battle sexual harassment or any kind of workplace harassment is tough, but there are options and laws you can use. Keep in mind to not let it derail you or affect your personal life very much.

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