Workplace harassment affects men and women and comes in varying forms.
From discrimination to unwanted sexual advances, harassment leads to a toxic work environment. Sometimes it is easy to recognize. Other times, it can be more nuanced. Regardless of form or presentation, there are laws to protect employees from harassment.
Types of workplace harassment
The types of workplace harassment include:
- Psychological harassment is often the most difficult to recognize. It can include intentional exclusion or withholding of important information.
- Digital harassment includes any bullying taking place through any online platform.
- Sexual harassment can be physical or verbal. Inappropriate sexual jokes, sharing sexual photographs or links, or soliciting sexual acts for promotional opportunities classify as sexual harassment.
- Verbal harassment is often the most obvious. It includes threats, demeaning comments, slurs and any offensive remarks.
- Physical harassment includes everything from unwanted touching to physical assault.
The first step in stopping any type of harassment includes learning to recognize when it occurs.
Recognizing workplace harassment
Common examples of workplace harassment include:
- Threats or actions of physical assault
- Offensive or inappropriate joking
- Insulting remarks
- Intimidation or mockery
- Direct or indirect name calling or epithets
- Use of offensive imagery or objects
The harasser could be a person in authority over the victim, including a supervisor, manager or business owner. It could also be a co-worker or even someone not employed by the same company.
Harassment can be subtle. Once you recognize it occurring in the workplace, whether you are the victim or not, the law protects you from retaliation for reporting it.