Harassment in Workplace – Things you should know

Workplace harassment refers to any form of hostile actions towards the employee that results in difficulties in performing their legitimate work or makes them feel that they are working in an unsecured environment. The harassment may be in different forms including bias against race, color, gender, age, culture, region, torturing or sexual orientation. Whatever form it may be, harassment in the workplace is an evil and spoils the entire environment. It is a social problem rather than individual and a common approach is needed to counter such discrimination at workplace.Many movements have passed legislation to protect employees from workplace harassment. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

 

Harassment in workplace may be in different forms. A colleague may repeatedly mock you for your appearance, race, color or religion. Whatever form it may be, needs to be dealt severely.

 

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment.

 

The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination, failure to promote or hire, and loss of wages. If the supervisor’s harassment results in a hostile work environment, the employer can avoid liability only if it can prove that: 1) it reasonably tried to prevent and promptly correct the harassing behavior; and 2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of any preventive or corrective opportunities provided by the employer.

 

What to do when Harassment occurred?

 

Report any incident of harassment immediately to your Employer, any member of management and/or to the Director of the Office of Workplace Diversity. This social evil can be eliminated completely only when each individual recognizes the impact it creates on the affected person. The conditions of employment are altered only if the harassment culminates in a tangible employment action or is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create a hostile work environment. 

One Response

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