Harassment is a broad term that can encompass any type of behavior that makes someone feel uncomfortable. It can occur anywhere, at any time, and can happen to anyone. This is why the first step in stopping harassment is to determine what type of behavior constitutes it. This might sound like a simple task, but often the root causes of harassment are more complex than people think.
First, we need to look at the definition of harassment. In today’s inclusive definition, harassment means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature whether verbal or physical, which has the effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or emotional well-being. Harassment can also be a threat to the safety of someone else or the property of someone else. In other words, it is a statement that says ‘you will never be hired again, you will not work here,’ which has the same type of power over the target as does a physically threatening letter or note.
The first step in stopping workplace harassment is for you, the target of the abuse, to stop it. If you are experiencing this type of abuse, you must take the lead and insist that your employer take steps to end your unwanted career interactions. For example, if you are harassed on a daily basis, it is clear to the person that something is wrong and that you will not take it anymore. If, however, you are the only employee working in a company that is harassed constantly, then you might decide to ignore the constant sexual harassment and tolerate the occasional hostile remark. If you are the target of frequent harassment that is taken seriously by your boss, however, you will have to take action to stop the abuse.
Another important part of what is harassment is that an employer cannot discriminate against any employee for any reason whatsoever. This includes age, disability, religion, race, gender, union, or any other category protected by law. So, it is clear that if you are harassed in the workplace, you should report your case to your supervisor or human resources department immediately. By doing so, you can protect yourself from being subjected to further harassment, as well as ensuring that the right type of action is taken against the harasser.
What is Harassment on the Job? Often times, when there is a problem within the workplace that is tolerated, it goes unchecked, and the harasser gets away with it for several reasons. First, victims are afraid to report their harassments out of fear of losing their job. Another reason, often the simplest, is that the victim might not understand the difference between workplace and real world harassment. When you are harassed in a work environment, it is much different than when it is carried out in real life.
In order to determine what is harassment on the job, you have to determine what is acceptable behavior for an employer and what is not. A few years ago, many employers cracked down on employers who were using illegal corporate activities as a way to unfairly advantage their employees. If the employer is found to be guilty of these types of actions, he or she could face serious consequences, including being forced out of business. Now, if the harasser is one of those who wears a uniform and goes to work every day, an employee may not be able to point out what is wrong, and may be subject to hostile work environment claims, even if the conduct in question is perfectly legal within the workplace.
The other problem with some workers and employers is that they believe that all forms of harassment are wrong, and that any form of sexual harassment is okay. However, as defined in the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, all types of sexual harassment, which include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature, are illegal. In addition, a man can legally be held accountable for unwanted sexual advances if he has worked for the US military. Therefore, while employers may feel that certain forms of workplace harassment are okay, they must make sure that their employees know that these same actions are illegal, and that they will not be subjected to prosecution if they decide to take action against their employee’s harassment problem.
Harassment laws vary greatly from state to state. Therefore, it is extremely important that if you are going to contact an employment law attorney, you have all of your state agency specific information at hand. You should know the names of your state’s legal protection against harassment, as well as the standards for deciding if an employer has a legitimate reason for disciplining an employee for making sexual advances or requests for sexual favors. If you go to an employer and are told that they do not have such a protection in place, it is extremely important that you let the employer know that you know what your state has in terms of workplace harassment law. If the employer simply ignores your state-specific information, then you can take action yourself by filing a complaint with your state agency to protect you, or with an attorney who can help you build a case against your harasser.