Types of Harassment in the Workplace
There are a variety of types of harassment that can occur in the workplace. Workplace harassment, whether verbal or physical badgering based on sex, religion, or race, is unlawful and also a form of discrimination.
Definition of Workplace Harassment
Workplace Harassment is a form of discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal regulations.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines harassment as unwelcome verbal or physical behavior that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender/gender identity, nationality, age (40 or older), physical or mental disability or genetic information.
Examples of Workplace Harassment
- Pedro was a victim of workplace harassment when his boss repeatedly referred to him with reference to his country of origin and characterized his work negatively based on his heritage.
- Ellen filed a claim with the EEOC because her boss restricted her to a receptionist role based on her appearance despite receiving her college degree and possessing the skills for an inside sales job. He repeatedly said that customers liked "having a looker up front.”
- Bonnie was subject to workplace harassment when her supervisor asked her out for drinks on many occasions and told her that she could go long way if she played her cards right with him.
- Jane was uncomfortable with references to the sexual conquests of co-workers in the break room. She responded to this workplace harassment by mentioning her discomfort to one of the perpetrators with whom she had a rapport. He spoke to the others, and their behavior ceased.
Options for Dealing With Workplace Harassment
Laws regarding workplace harassment are enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Any inpidual who believes that his or her employment rights have been violated may file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.
However, prior to doing so, victims should usually make an effort to resolve the situation internally. One option is to reach out to the offending inpidual directly. Describe your feelings and the unacceptable language or behavior and request that it stop. Another step might involve contacting your supervisor for assistance if you are uncomfortable confronting the offender directly.
In cases where the perpetrator is your supervisor, then you can contact either the Human Resources department or your supervisor's boss and request redress.