So, what is Harassment at Work?
The definition of harassment according to the FCC Encyclopedia is as follows:
The act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands. The purposes may vary, including racial prejudice, personal malice, an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors, apply illegal pressure to collect a bill, or merely gain sadistic pleasure from making someone fearful or anxious. Such activities may be the basis for a lawsuit if due to discrimination based on race or sex, a violation on the statutory limitations on collection agencies, involve revenge by an ex-spouse, or be shown to be a form of blackmail (“I’ll stop bothering you if you’ll go to bed with me”). The victim may file a petition for a “stay away” (restraining) order, intended to prevent contact by the offensive party. A systematic pattern of harassment by an employee against another worker may subject the employer to a lawsuit for failure to protect the worker.
Harassment in the Workplace: Working every day for forty plus years is difficult for many employees
If everyone in society was given the choice of to work or not to work, and be independently sustainable, it is a sure bet that the majority of people choices to be self-sustainable. Many people have said, “Life is tough and then you die”. This is a depressing statement and many people in this current economy feel this way. If a person can find a job these days, that person is in the minority and should consider the good fortune bestowed. Working every day at a job that is not necessarily ideal is difficult. When the person who is working at a less than perfect job finds harassment at work on the job, it makes their life doubly difficult. Absolutely no person should be expected to deal with harassment at work.
Harassment at work can come from customers, co-workers, and the employer. Harassment is against the law if the person can prove they are or have been harassed. Harassment, discrimination, and bullying are all different entities, however, remain closely related. If a person experiences harassment in the workplace, discrimination and bullying is not far behind. These three actions frequently cross-behavioral lines of inappropriateness. Harassment is not just a simple case of workplace harassment There are different kinds of harassment in the workplace and varying degrees of this inappropriate behavior.
No one should have to endure harassment anywhere at any time and especially in the workplace. People can harass their victim in a number of different ways. Harassment generally continues over a length of time and is not a onetime action. The person doing the harassment is persistent, obnoxious, and offensive in their actions towards their victim. States have set their own harassment laws in place. However, not all states address some of the following issues.
Employees need to consider their individual state laws. Harassment can come in the form of the following but may not be specific to each state. • Cultural origin • Sex origin and promised sexual favors • Religion, including constant, repeated and unwelcome religious messages and preaching on Biblical issues • Race • Disability is protected under the Americans’ for Disability Act, including physical and mental status • Age • Military or veteran status • Marital status such as, same sex marriages • Transgender status • Transsexual status and cross-dressing • Prior arrest history • Economic status • Public Assistance status • Financial status • Smoker versus non-smoker status • Political affiliation • Personal appearance • Family responsibilities • Racial epithets • Citizen status
Continued Harassment at Work has nasty side effects
The side effects of harassment on a victim causes distress. Unfortunately, the person doing the harassing must be warned of their inappropriate behavior. Sexual harassment warrants one warning from the victim to the offender, before an investigation triggers. Sexual harassment is the most common form of behavior in the work place. Sexual harassment can come in a few different forms no matter what gender, status of the person or sexual orientation. • Threats • Gestures • Inappropriate touching of the person can be overturned to assault of the victim • Sexual language • Unwanted attention by another
Harassment at Work and federal laws against bullying
People in power positions such as the police can be harassing to the public through inappropriate language and repeated contact. Because the police are harassing, the victim feels as though they cannot do anything to stop the behavior. Other forms of harassment are creditors who call consumers repeatedly. If the consumer knows no better, the person may feel helpless and afraid, because of inability to repay that debt.
This debt harassment in the workplace is unlawful according to Federal and State Laws Employees are protected against episodes of harassment stemming from their religion, nationality, culture, appearance, disability and gender. Some employees are burdened so deeply because of someone’s harassing behavior they feel they must quit their employment in order to relieve the stress. Harassing behaviors are against the law, and the law protects employees from workplace harassment. There is no reason for an employee to go through threats, humiliations and a hostile work environment.
Harassment laws put into place may demand suspension of the person who is harassing. The person may be put on work probation or have their job terminated. The person who must enforce these laws is the employer. The employer has the responsibility of consistently enforcing these laws in their place of business. If the employer does not protect the harassed employee, this employee can seek an attorney and start a lawsuit. When a person is harassed in their workplace, these actions greatly affect the employee’s ability to complete their job as assigned. It is difficult for an employee to work in a hostile environment that in turn causes a decrease in concentration, efficiency and responsibility on the job.
An employee of this sort cannot offer their best to the employer. If a harassed employee, feels they do not stand a chance at fighting back they are incorrect in their thinking. Blackmail in the workplace is difficult to prove
What form is harassment in the workplace?
Workplace harassment can come to the victim in the form of continued employment if they comply with demands. Workplace harassment can come from all the way to the top of the corporate level to simple immediate supervisors and co-workers. Workplace harassment in most cases is difficult to prove, especially without witnesses it is one’s word against another. Workplace harassment laws have been set in place for these reasons.
If an employer is all for their employees, is fair, professional, and a caring individual they will offer employees a training session on workplace harassment covering the following issues. • Who can harass in the workplace? • Who can be a victim of workplace harassment? • What are the steps to take in the event of workplace harassment?
Employers have an obligation to their employees and to the Law when it comes to Harassment at Work
Training sessions should include a well-informed speaker, videos, online courses, and newsletter. Meeting that involve harassment role-playing does a lot to help employees understand how nasty this behavior is viewed. Seminars will show employees how to handle a situation where bullying harassment takes place. Workplace harassment should be part of the hiring process information for all employees to follow. In states across America, employers are held accountable when they allow workplace harassment. Harassment is illegal and is a violation of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment & Housing Act. Laws are set in place, both by the Federal Government and the individual states. If the employer does not take care of harassing situations and does not adhere to these laws there, can be stiff fines, lawsuits and or jail time. If an employer is aware of harassing issues in his or her place of business, this employer is condoning and permitting a hostile workplace environment. The employer is adding to intimidation in the workplace environment and offensive behaviors to create this inappropriate workplace environment. If the employer does not correct a harassment problem within the company, the employer can be charged with harassment along with the accused. The employer dare not become the harasser towards any employee.
The employer has the responsibility and obligation to assure for each employee the following:
• Information, education, and training for all employees and especially those employees in a supervisory position, on workplace harassment • Stop all incidents of reported harassment and correct behaviors • The employer must initiate a policy and procedure pertaining to workplace harassment • Outline investigative procedures of workplace harassment • Stop any retaliations • Make the harassment laws available to all employees • DFEH employment poster available for all employees
Workplace harassment can be confused with other issues such as:
• Rudeness • Insensitivity towards employees • Discourtesies • Episodes of teasing an employee • One isolated inappropriate comment to an employee
Employees have a responsibility to their workplace for the following:
• Demeaning behaviors • Disrespectfulness towards supervisors and co-workers • All employees need to know that co-workers and supervisors make take remarks, gestures, and behaviors in different ways, either acceptable or unacceptable. Employees need to be appropriate at all times • Employees have the responsibility to walk in the other person’s shoes and how they would feel if the tables were turned • To avoid superior or a mightier than thou attitude towards peers