The Different Forms of Harassment in the Workplace

The Different Forms of Harassment in the Workplace

Unfortunately, harassment in the workplace is not an uncommon situation. While companies are taking steps to improve the situation, there is still a chance that you have been or could be a victim of some sort of harassment. While there are varying types and levels of harassment, many victims have similar reactions and stories.

Any form of harassment has the potential to make a victim feel fearful, uncomfortable while working, or embarrassed. Employees may choose to stay in a work environment where they face sexual harassment because of limited career options, financial reasons, or the perpetrator may even be promising fantastic career advancement opportunities.

Defining the Perpetrator

If you are experiencing harassment in the workplace, it is important to have an understanding of who is at the root of the issue. Sometimes a group of people decide to gang up against one individual, while other times the situation is more hidden and complex. Even a friendly relationship has the potential of crossing the line and becoming a volatile scenario.

Types of Harassment and Signs to Look Out For

Harassment can take on many forms and may involve religion, race, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, and appearance. One of the most common types is sexual harassment. It is important to note that while females make up the majority of sexual harassment victims, men are also known to encounter similar situations. Harassment can happen to anyone, regardless of social class or superiority at the job.

Harassment may include name-calling, offensive photos or videos, intimidation, threats, ridicule, insults, and much more. The effects of workplace harassment can be devastating. Many victims report feelings of isolation, anxiety, fearfulness, and even depression. An employee may be forced to quit their job if the appropriate plan of action is not put in place during the initial stages.

When Should Legal Action Be Pursued?

Before pursuing legal action, there are some steps you should take. Make sure that you have spoken with the perpetrator and asked them to stop. This will make it difficult for them to convince a judge that it was playful banter you both engaged in. Keep physical records of any evidence to show your attorney. It is also a good idea to file a formal complaint with the company.

Contact us if you feel that you may have a case regarding workplace harassment, we would love to help you.

 

Feature photo by Marc Mueller.

Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment can make a workplace miserable. Sometimes harassment takes place at work without anyone noticing that it’s actually harassment. This article covers the forms of sexual harassment that take place at work and the types of behavior that can be considered sexual harassment.

Types of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment claims usually falls into one of the two categories:

Quid pro quo

This is an employment decision based on your submission to the harassment. This can be like a promotion, an assignment or even being promised you’d keep your job. Quid pro quo constitutes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature

Hostile work environment

A hostile work environment is created when the sexual harassment makes your workplace environment intimidating, hostile, or offensive. When the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment, it is considered sexual harassment.

Courts consider several factors to determine whether a work environment is hostile:

  • whether the conduct was verbal, physical, or both
  • how frequently it was repeated
  • whether the conduct was hostile or patently offensive
  • whether the alleged harasser was a co-worker or supervisor
  • whether others joined in perpetrating the harassment
  • whether the harassment was directed at more than one individual

What Kinds of Behavior are Considered Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment can vary based on the person and the situation. It most commonly includes behaviors such as:

  • unwelcome sexual advances
  • requests for sexual favors, direct or indirect threats or bribes for sexual activity
  • sexual innuendos and comments
  • sexually suggestive jokes, unwelcome touching or brushing against a person
  • pervasive displays of materials with sexually illicit or graphic content
  • attempted or completed sexual assault

Harassment in the workplace can come in many forms. If you feel uncomfortable in your workplace you may have a case.

Harassment in the Workplace

Sexual harassment unfortunately plagues workplaces all across the United States. No matter the context or reason, sexual harassment is consistently wrong. If you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment, you deserve justice, and we can help you get it.

First, let’s take a look at what sexual harassment looks like in the workplace, as well as what you should do if you find yourself in this situation involving harassment in the office.

What is Sexual Harassment?

women being harassed at her workplace

Photo by Slphotography.

Sexual harassment is simply the act of sexual advances when they are unwanted by the other individual. There are many different ways sexual harassment can show itself, including:

  • Expectations, requests, or demands, of sexual favor in trade for employment
  • Sexual favors being expected, requested, or demanded in trade for privileges, raises, or promotions
  • Unwanted or unwelcome physical contact including: touching, patting, brushing against, hugging, pinching, or kissing
  • Unwanted sexual jokes, innuendos or inappropriate comments
  • Threats, intimidation or other hostility after rejecting the sexual favors
  • Allowing sexual behavior to be ongoing in the workplace

What to do if You’re Harassed

If you find yourself in a situation where you are being sexually harassed, there are several options you have as far as your next behavior. First, you should be aware of your employer’s procedures for sexual harassment. This will allow you to know what your limitations are for seeking retribution or for following protocol with HR. Observing the office culture, being aware of diversity, and stopping sexual harassment when spotted are also helpful actions that can be taken. Even if you are not the subject of sexual harassment in your work, you want to make sure you are not encouraging it in any way.

When the sexual harassment is taking place, be assertive to your harasser. Confront the offender and let them know their behavior is unwanted and rejected. Then, you should move up the chain and speak to a supervisor about the harassment you are experiencing. This can be done in writing and by following your company’s procedures for filing these types of complaints. When discussing the harassment with your company leaders or harassment offenders, you should use specific language to describe how the behavior is negatively affecting your workplace practices and how it is hindering your ability to perform your office role. Always make sure you are airing your grievances and letting them know their behavior needs to come to an end.

Arizona’s Best Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you have been sexually harassed in the workplace and feel that you have not received the justice you deserve, give us a call. We understand that company protocol is sometimes not enough and that harassment can continue without being taken care of properly.