Harassment in the workplace is a type of harassment that makes the workplace intimidating or hostile. This is a broad definition, as harassment can occur in many different forms. Most people are familiar with sexual harassment, but to count as harassment in the workplace, it doesn’t need to be sexual. In fact, it doesn’t need to occur in the workplace. Below are five situations to be aware of and to watch out for that could be workplace harassment.
1. Intimidation by Employers
Intimidation can be used to harass employees who are worried they will lose their job if they say anything against their employer. In these cases, the employee is subject to harassment simply because they are not on the same level in the workplace as the person doing the harassment. This is a common type of workplace harassment and can include physical threats, harassment based on gender or another protected class, or sexual harassment.
2. Requesting a Date and Not Taking No for an Answer
Many people date those they work with and have no problems. It’s not uncommon for one employee to ask a coworker out on a date. However, if the coworker declines the date, this is where the conversation should end. If the employee who asks their coworker for a date continues to ask, especially if their behavior escalates, it could become workplace harassment. Escalating behavior could include demanding a date, harassing the coworker through other means, or following the coworker to get their attention.
3. Jokes About Gender or Race
Gender and race are two protected classes, so any discriminatory behavior based on these classes could be a form of workplace harassment. Harassment based on gender includes negative stereotyping, taunts based on gender, gender-related jokes that are not appreciated, or materials displayed in the office that may be degrading to a certain gender. Racial harassment includes discrimination based on racial stereotypes, racial insults or jokes, or any comments that can be seen as degrading.
4. Threats of Physical Injuries
Threats of physical injury toward coworkers or employees can be a form of harassment. Any threat that includes the possibility of violence or injuries can fall under this, as can threatening behavior or the destruction of property when it is done to intimidate someone else. The person making the threats does not need to act on them for this to count as harassment; it just needs to be possible for them to do so.
5. Harassment Occurring Outside the Workplace
Harassment doesn’t necessarily need to occur in the workplace for it to count as workplace harassment. Threatening or intimidating behaviors outside of work can count if they are between two or more coworkers or employers and employees. Threatening text messages can happen outside the workplace, but if they’re between two workers, it could lead to the victim feeling unsafe at work. Mass emails, social media posts, and other types of online harassment could be included in this situation.
Workplace harassment should always be taken seriously to prevent hostile working conditions for employees. These are just a few of the different situations in which workplace harassment can occur for employers or employees. Those who feel they have been harassed at work can speak with a lawyer to see if their situation falls under workplace harassment and what their options may be going forward.