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Workplace Harassment

Essay by   •  July 30, 2015  •  Essay  •  1,608 Words (7 Pages)  •  409 Views

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Introduction

In todays working environment employees are often faced with several challenges. Workplace harassment is a major issue that many employees are faced with everyday. Being a victim of harassment in the workplace can make the working environment difficult and distressing for the employee. With diversity becoming more popular in the workplace environment it is vital that all employees have the proper understanding and knowledge about harassment that can occur in the workplace. Not everyone has the same understanding about workplace harassment.

While there are laws to protect workers from the different types of workplace harassment, most victims are not aware of what represents harassment. Victims are not sure how to go about not only preventing it, but making sure that it does not happen. That is why the education on workplace harassment is so important so everyone know their rights and understands what they can do about it.

What is Workplace Harassment?

When people work together, misunderstanding and conflict are inevitable and this could escalate to harassment. Workplace harassment involves behaviors that contribute to a hostile work environment. It is the use of physical, verbal, or written contact that either degrades, shows hostility, or aversion on the basis on gender, sexual preference, race, religion affiliation, color, or disability. According to the U.S. Department of Labor “harassment as unwelcome behavior that includes lewd comments and slurs, threats, inappropriate touching, physical or verbal abuse” (U.S. Department of Labor). “This has the potential of disrupting an employee's work performance, their chance at compensation or employment opportunities, or creating a hostile work environment” (Woodard, 2010).

Harassment in the workplace environment can turn even the most meaningful and rewarding job into a nightmare. It can become hard to concentrate on daily work tasks or complete assignments if harassment in the workplace environment is present. Workplace harassment impairs the workplace environment for everyone even when it is directed at only one or two people. Workplace harassment may occur between an employer and an employee, between two co-workers, it can occur between any two people in the workplace environment. It happens when one person in the workplace environment experiences unwelcome physical or verbal attention from another person. Some forms of harassment are considered discrimination under federal law. When companies, businesses or organizations permit discrimination at work, they can be held liable in a court of law.

Anyone can fall victim to workplace harassment, as well as, anyone can perform workplace harassment. Bosses, superiors, managers, directors, and coworkers can all be victimized, as well as, persons performing the harassment. Workplace harassment is often a result of stress, power, differences of opinion, unclear expectations, vague policies, and duties not being clearly defined. It may occur when supervisors or upper management ignores, or is not aware of, conflict. It is important that supervisors and upper management is attentive to this growing topic of concern among organizations so that they are able to identify and intervene early in order to prevent harassment.

Types of Workplace Harassment

Many people think that sexual harassment is the one and only type of harassment that can happen in the workplace. However, there are several different types of workplace harassment. Many people are unaware of the different types of workplace harassment. It is important that if someone falls victim to workplace harassment that they can identify the form of harassment. Types of harassment that can occur in the workplace include, sexual harassment, both quid pro quo and hostile work environment. There is also racial harassment, age harassment, religion harassment, and disability harassment.

Sexual harassment is when an employee that is subjected to demeaning, offensive, and inappropriate physical, verbal, or written conduct of a sexual nature by another person. Normally, the harasser is somewhere in a higher position than the victim. There are two types of sexual harassment. The two types of sexual harassment are quid pro quo and a hostile work environment. Quid pro quo is where an employer offers or withholds compensation or benefits in exchange for sexual favors. Often the victim is told their career can improve or decline if they do not provide sexual favors. Hostile work environment is where inappropriate behavior makes an employee uncomfortable in their workplace environment. This includes unwanted physical touches, sexual jokes or suggestions, or comments that are unwelcome by the employee.

Racial harassment is when an employee is subjected to demeaning, offensive, and inappropriate behavior based on their racial identification. This includes addressing the employee in a derogatory way, using a derogative slang word, or telling derogatory jokes. Racial harassment is unwelcome behavior that happens to because of someone’s race, such as verbal or physical conduct of a racial nature. Age discrimination is another form of harassment that happens within the workplace environment. Age harassment occurs when such discriminatory

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