How to Recognize Harassment at Work and Protect Personal Borders
Harassment has always existed among people. Indeed, nobody denies the cruelty of human nature. But nowadays, it penetrates the work environment at an extremely rapid pace.
According to HuffingtonPost, approximately 75% of cases of harassment at work go unreported. This article is one of the attempts to address this important issue. We’ll explore the following aspects.
- What is harassment at work?
- The necessity to speak about the problem
- Types of harassment
- Guidelines for fighting harassment
- Key pieces of advice for those willing to defend their rights
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Still, punishing the offender and protecting the rights of a specific person abused is of utmost importance. Keep your dignity, avoid stress, and continue reading this article.
What Is Harassment at Work?
Why has harassment become so common, especially in the work environment? And what is considered harassment at work?
Harassment is an abuse of power, a way to demonstrate one’s superiority. It includes actions that humiliate, offend, intimidate a worker or a candidate for a job position and create an unfavorable, toxic atmosphere within the team.
The following are the most common signs of harassment at work.
- A person significantly violates your boundaries, especially physical.
- The aggressor neglects your objections and remarks made out loud.
- Inappropriate actions are repeated regularly.
- The actions are not reciprocal.
- There exists a hierarchy that separates the roles of the boss and the subordinate.
Now, when the answer for “What is harassment at work?” is clear, let’s draw a line between bullying and harassment at work. Yes, the terms are not synonymous. Perhaps, most people associate “bullying” with behavior typical for school-age children. It is a delusion, though. Scroll further and find out the answer to “what is bullying at work?”
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What Is Bullying at Work?
It seems as if no one used such a term as “bullying” a few decades ago. Nowadays, it is “flourishing” worldwide, expanding to all possible spheres of life. Getting a job without being subjected to insults is also considered a great success.
Though bullying and harassment at work are almost similar, it is possible to identify some distinguishing features. Bullying is considered as acts or comments that are aimed at the psychological isolation of a person in a company. To understand the notion completely, let’s study some bullying at work examples.
- Targeted nasty jokes.
- Providing workers with incorrect deadlines or guidelines to discredit them to employers.
- Constant threatening and humiliating.
- Baseless criticism.
- Denial of requests for sick leave.
Of course, it is crucial to differentiate the aforementioned notions, though even more important is understanding which types of harassment at work exist. These will be given the most attention in the succeeding paragraphs.
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Types of Harassment at Work
Even though many people tend to associate harassment with sexual abuse only, it does not stop at this category. There are many different types of harassment at work that depend on several factors. To distinguish harassment at work from other features of behavior, it is necessary at least to have a look at the most common causes.
Remember that your career will not end if you decide not to conceal the fact of being abused. All career advice experts recommend looking for like-minded people with whom you can discuss the problem. A culture of silence grows out of a culture of violence, so the abuser should understand that you will not be silent. Otherwise, the situation will only worsen.
Exerting Discriminatory Pressure
Discriminatory harassment is aimed at creating a hostile work environment for those who are different from other workers based on their physical or mental features. The signs of harassment at work may take discriminatory peculiarities at the very first stage of qualification. Indeed, recruiters often refuse specific people due to some personal biases.
Discriminatory harassment examples are the following:
- intimidation based on a person’s race, color, or national origin, which can be reflected in the scope or nature of duties assigned to an individual or unjustified salary discrepancies;
- threatening due to gender or sexual orientation, especially if a person does not want to reveal these details, and someone takes advantage of their vulnerability or hinders their promotion;
- harassment of immigrants, which is pretty common, unfortunately, because of employee hostility, aggression to foreigners, and the fear of losing their jobs to people coming from other countries.
In case of facing discriminatory harassment, experts suggest compiling a list of other alternative positions and applying for the relevant ones. While writing a resume, it is necessary to focus on professional experience and personal qualities.
Racial harassment refers to abuse based on race. Such manifestations are a form of xenophobia and are close to racial discrimination. Negligence, obscene jokes, forms of addressing people of a different race to eliminate their dignity - all these are discrimination cases aimed at humiliating a victim.
Reporting harassment at work in such cases is of utmost importance. In this regard, study the racial harassment examples:
- using racist names and jokes against a person;
- offensive comments and physical violence against representatives of a particular race.
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Abuse on a Gender Basis
Harassment based on gender is a kind of sexism. It is common for those teams where, for example, the number of male workers predominates. Indeed, a survey conducted by Stop Street Harassment proved that 38% of women experienced harassment at the workplace.
Insults and humiliating based on gender often hinder career advancement, employment opportunities, or changing positions, regardless of qualification and personal qualities.
Harassment at work examples of this type can include physical or mental assault based on:
- gender stereotypes;
- sexual orientation;
- gender identity.
Bullying and harassment at work may also involve religious discrimination. Religious harassment is very close to aggressive forms of xenophobia and religious persecution at the workplace.
Examples of religious harassment at work include
- offensive comments and discussions;
- persecution based on religious beliefs;
- forcing to participate in religious activities that contradict a person’s faith;
- forcing them to give up a particular faith. In such cases, employers may use their power for threatening (dismissal, inability to advance, persecution, or prohibition to stay in the workspace).
Ageism in the Workplace
Sometimes, the scale of adultism overshadows the infringement of rights based on race. People often face age discrimination at each stage of employment and while working in a particular company.
This type of harassment can work both ways.
- The main reason for rejections for workers over 40 is their age.
- Young people complain about lack of work experience as the main factor.
Reporting harassment at work, in this case, is said to be difficult. Indeed, no one even knows how to prove age discrimination at work correctly. Thus, experts recommend learning how to present age as a plus and emphasize the ability to work with colleagues regardless of one’s age, position, and experience.
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Physical harassment refers to those types of bullying that threaten the bodily health of a worker.
- abusive gestures;
- assault, including sexual assault;
- unwanted physical intimations of sexual activity.
It has a lot to do with the roles distributed inside the company. Indeed, bosses often think they have the right to deal with their subordinates as they want. Therefore, it results in disregard for other people’s physical boundaries and the absence of consent, which directly corresponds to harassment definition at work.
While this type of harassment is dangerous, the following ones can turn out to be even more humiliating.
Having considered the examples of physical harassment, it’s time to answer the question: “What is psychological harassment?”
Psychological harassment at work is a collective psychological terror against any of the employees by their colleagues or superiors.
The signs of harassment at work include
- rumor spreading;
- intimidation and humiliation;
- social isolation.
The psychological effects of harassment are evident when the mental condition of the victim of such persecution is impaired.
Thus, the question is “How to prove psychological harassment?” The victims of harassment find themselves in difficulty because the accusations may not be considered if the accused has a good reputation.
Such people often seek retaliation for the violence they have experienced. Though, it may not always have favorable consequences.
You’ve probably come across this expression always wondering, “what is retaliation harassment?”.
Retaliation at work refers to the situation when an employee complains about the harassment they have experienced. However, as a response, the employer takes some discriminatory measures against them.
- One example of retaliation harassment is termination. Imagine you have complained about the discriminatory attitude of your co-workers. Yet, instead of taking appropriate measures, your boss transfers you to a lower job position without any explanation.
- Another example can be a failure to employ. This means that the recruiter or boss does not directly reject you being employed but instead delays a decision.
But what if you eventually get that desired offer? The main thing is not to face any other forms of discrimination.
Perhaps, everyone understands what is sexual harassment at work, but let us give an exact definition of this.
Sexual harassment is any sexual innuendo, gestures, and other actions that may put a specific person under stress. An employee may be offered a job in exchange for sex or a relationship closer than that suggested by the work situation. The same can happen in any other relationship where there is a certain hierarchy of roles.
Examples of sexual harassment at work include
- unwanted physical contact;
- posting intimate images or videos on the Internet without consent;
- a suggestion of an award in exchange for the response to a sexual inquiry.
Many people wonder: “Is spreading rumors at work harassment or not?” And the answer is obvious. Both physical and verbal actions are considered harassment if someone is hurt by them. Nevertheless, there aren’t verbal harassment laws that would define the exact cases of verbal abuse.
Still, verbal harassment may include the following:
- inappropriate comments;
- nasty jokes and anecdotes;
- obsessive questions about someone’s personal life.
Recording the insulting statements or involving colleagues may be the only way out of the problem when bullying at work lawsuit is pursued.
Guidelines for Fighting Harassment
Here comes the time to learn how to deal with harassment at work. There is no need to google “bullying at work what to do.”
Just follow these pieces of advice.
- Now that you know exactly what is considered harassment at work, you must firmly and decisively indicate your negative attitude to this action. Remember that keeping silent is not an option.
- Warn the aggressor that if the situation does not change immediately, you will take action against personal harassment. Do not hesitate to act on it if the aggressor ignores your warning.
- Contact persons whose roles are maintaining the internal corporate climate in your company and assisting workers. Be prepared for written explanations and statements. You should be able to express your concerns clearly.
- Collect complete evidence based on the issue: recordings of conversations, messages, testimonies of witnesses, recordings from cameras. All these details are necessary to prove your claims and defend yourself against a person who hurt you.
- If all the above-mentioned tips don’t work, there is one more working option. Leave the organization. Prepare an exit plan: let the dismissal be calm, thoughtful, and profitable. Career experts, including 24 hour resume writing service, are here to help you. Invest in your careers because only this way can you find a decent position with favorable working conditions.
The worst thing is to suffer harassment and justify the aggressor. The same applies to cases where your relatives or friends face harassment. Support them and tell them how to deal with harassment at work using the algorithm discussed.
Key Pieces of Advice for Fighting Against Harassment at the Workplace
Hopefully, this article has made a good impression on you and explained all the peculiarities of how to deal with bullying at work. Below, you will find a concise list of all the necessary elements to remember. Do not forget to consult this digest when coming up with a question: “how to stop bullying at work?”.
- Harassment is physical or psychological abuse often related to the intimate side of a person’s life or some form of discrimination. It includes insults, obscene phrases, stalking, and unpleasant physical touch. Workplace harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. The stalker can be a colleague or the victim’s boss.
- Harassment can be not only sexual. One person can bully another because of age and work experience, ethnicity, color, religion, sexual orientation, and physical or intellectual characteristics. These reasons can also influence the employer’s hiring decision or impede the opportunity for career advancement. The victim usually feels unwelcome and isolated.
- There are a few common actions that can help fight harassment: keeping all evidence of harassment at work, developing tactics of behavior with the aggressor, and not being afraid to speak up and seek help. It is important to get the support of family or colleagues and delineate your boundaries.
If you find this article useful, you are free to share it with those people who would also apply these methods of defending personal rights.
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