Common Workplace Harassment
Harassment is a pattern of pervasive and repeated behavior that makes it difficult or impossible for someone to perform their job as required. Harassment can come from a supervisor, a co-worker, a customer or client, or a vendor or contractor. If you are experiencing any type of harassment in the workplace, your employer could be held liable if they were aware of it and failed to take action. A workplace harassment lawyer can review your case and determine whether you have a claim.
When you discuss harassment in the workplace, many people assume that you are referring to sexual harassment. Sexual harassment involves the use of implied or explicit sexual overtones. It can be physical or verbal and includes things like unwelcome advances, touching, or leering. It can include the offer of employment benefits (such as a promotion) in exchange for sexual favors (known as “quid pro quo” harassment) but it does not need to imply any type of exchange to be considered sexual harassment.
Discriminatory harassment is harassment that is based on protected characteristics. This includes harassing someone on the following bases:
Discriminatory harassment is often confused with discrimination, but they are not the same. Many employees who may not have a discrimination claim may have a claim for discriminatory harassment.
Physical harassment can take on the form of unwelcome touching as well as things like pushing, tripping, hitting, or kicking. It doesn’t need to be violent or sexual in nature – it just needs to be unwelcome in order to be considered harassment. That said, you must be able to prove that the harassment was directed toward you on the basis of belonging to a protected class.
Psychological harassment can be difficult to prove because it is typically subtle or covert. It can include a range of behaviors intended to mentally break down the victim, including the following:
- Implied threats and other attempts at intimidation
- Withholding of information
- Taking credit for the victim’s efforts or achievements
- Requiring the victim to perform demeaning tasks
- Imposing unreasonable demands or impossible deadlines on the victim
- Excluding the victim from various work-related functions
Verbal harassment is one of the most common types of harassment. Verbal harassment can include the following:
- Racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes
- Demeaning remarks
- Hurtful comments
- Inappropriate or suggestive comments
- Mockery, ridicule, or insults
Keep in mind that the comments do not necessarily be made to you directly in order to be considered harassment. Comments made to someone else but intended for you to hear would qualify as workplace harassment.
Harassment can also take place over email, text messages, social media apps, and other forms of digital communication. As a result, harassment can occur even when you are not at work or outside of work hours.
Harassed at Work? Contact Attorneys for Employees
We have dedicated our practice to holding harassers and their employers accountable. If you are being harassed at work, we can help you get it resolved. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.