Workplace Harassment: How To Report Harassment At Work?

When an employee feels threatened or humiliated by their co-workers, it is known as Workplace Harassment. Workplace harassment is referred to by several terms, including cyberbullying, mobbing, and workplace aggression. Harassment encompasses a wide range of segregation and acts of infringement that are not limited to a single group. 

Harassment arises when humans target different factions, such as women, racial and sexual minorities, disabled people, and immigrants. Workplace harassment, in essence, necessitates a pluralistic arrangement because it cannot be defined- in a single coherent and solid manner. 

What Does It Mean To Get Harassed At Work?

Concrete proof of workplace harassment might or might not exist; hence, it is advantageous to possess a solid understanding of what is going on with you when talking about it. 

Offensive jokes, racist remarks, epithets, or name-calling, violent abuse or threats, harassment, ridicule or belittlement, insults or put-downs, objectionable objects or pictures, and intervention with job performance are all examples of improper conduct, as per the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). 

Workplace harassment can take place in several situations, including the following:

  • The perpetrator could be the victim’s boss, a boss in another department, an employer’s advisor, a colleague, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the individual harassed; anyone impacted by the outrageous behavior might be the victim.
  • Harassment may occur without causing financial harm to the victim or causing the victim’s employment to get revoked. 

Firstly, it is critical to recognize when you are getting harassed at work. Workplace harassment is a pressing problem with many ambiguities. It is your responsibility to report wrongdoing or workplace harassment if you witness one. 

What Are The Types Of Workplace Harassment?

Mentioned hereunder are different types of harassment in a workplace.

  • Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment can be a never-ending battle that jeopardizes your health and profession. Insulting remarks, offensive expressions, and unfair criticism are all part of it. Insults, racist words, unwanted “puns,” and hurtful comments are all examples. 

Since it is a nonphysical type of assault, verbal harassment” can be hard to detect and is frequently a gray area. According to experts, shouting, cursing, or making insulting comments or jokes about a colleague is often viewed as a case of personality clash rather than harassment. 

However, such behavior can have a severe negative impact on the victim and result in anxiety, high blood sugar, and depression. 

  • Psychological Harassment

Psychological harassment is similar to verbal abuse, but it is more subtle and involves oppressive tactics such as information withholding. 

Taking credit for someone else’s achievements, making unreasonable requests, forcing irrational deadlines on a particular employee, continuously asking an employee to achieve demeaning tasks outside their job scope, or constantly repudiating everything a worker proposes may not point to harassment. Still, they can be a type of deliberate psychological bullying. 

  • Digital Harassment or cyberbullying

Even when digital harassment occurs in online mode, it can be just as severe as in-person bullying. It is the most recent form of harassment, and it can be found in various places. 

Making false claims online, setting up a fake persona to intimidate someone online, creating a website about the victim to demonize and belittle them, and uploading threats or insulting comments on social media are all examples of digital harassment. 

Because the use of social media and technology has become more common, and the discussion of sensitive topics has become more tolerable, anyone can now digitally harass others in the power of free speech or being “woke.” Behind a computer monitor, people tend to be braver – which sadly includes being nastier. 

The best part about online harassment is that it is easily documentable and proven. This is extremely helpful when it comes to investigating and proving it. Experts recommend taking screenshots, saving email messages to your computer, and keeping a folder of everything that makes you feel uncomfortable to keep track of the situation.

  • Physical Harassment

Workplace physical harassment can take many forms. Experts explained that these could range from simple unpleasant gestures such as touching an employee’s garments, hair, face, or skin to more serious acts such as physical violence, intimidation, and property damage. 

It can be hard to determine due to the wide range of degrees of physical harassment. If there is no physical harm done, some physical harassment may be dismissed as a joke. However, if a co-worker is shoved, blocked, and kicked regularly; still, the victim never gets harmed; it may be considered harassment, especially if done by a team leader or another high-performing staff member. 

Also, Physical harassment is considered even if there is no serious injury. Workers should call help immediately if a situation becomes hostile and refrain from intervening.

  • Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a serious crime that occurs more frequently than you might believe. According to a survey, 40 percent of female informants and 14 percent of male respondents have witnessed workplace sexual harassment. It’s a common crime that doesn’t just affect women. 

Workplace sexual harassment is rarely blatant. Most of the time, it’s hidden behind harmless humor, harmless comments accompanied by sexual gestures or tones, or uncomfortable but fairly benign statements that disparage people of a particular gender. 

How To Report Harassment At Work?

Human resource departments are designed to assist employees, particularly those who are in dangerous or uncomfortable situations. A victim’s failure to file a complaint should not be due to a lack of actual evidence. The majority of complaints and resentments lack hard evidence.

 It’s crucial to report workplace harassment because many victims may have revealed similar offenses by the same offender, and the employer may be waiting for more proof before taking action. 

Many businesses have proper measures in place for reporting workplace harassment, but others may not. Employees should follow the appropriate steps in these lawful situations, according to experts:

  • Initially, try to resolve the situation with the harasser calmly. Ask them to stop targeting this behavior at you, preferably in person. If the harassment is physical, however, do not engage the harasser.
  • Consider reporting the problem to your immediate supervisor – unless your supervisor is the perpetrator. If your efforts to resolve the situation with the harasser fail, bring it to HR’s interest. Provide evidence in the form of images, texts, emails, and eyewitness accounts if possible.
  • If you believe your supervisors, HR, or corporate management did not handle your case accurately, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which can conduct an independent investigation. Some large cities and metropolitan areas have their workplace conduct legislation and organizations, in which case a victim can file a claim with that municipality. 

When dealing with harassment at the workplace, you must refrain from doing a few things. Most importantly, refrain from retaliating, as this can exacerbate the problem. Additionally, refrain from complaining to colleagues. 

If they are asked to testify, your colleagues will most likely water down your side of the story because they have little ability to change anything. Again, do not remain silent in the face of harassment. Staying silent will not make the perpetrator’s actions stop. All occurrences of harassment should be noted, and all allegations should be investigated fully.

A toxicity-free, positive, and harassment-free working environment reduces employee disengagement and boosts productivity. As a result, you must ensure that your workplace does not promote harassment or discrimination against anyone.

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