What Constitutes Harassment?
If you’re asking yourself what constitutes harassment on the job, this information will help you. When it comes to harassment in the workplace, awareness, communication and early intervention are essential. Each person in your company should be held accountable for reporting any cases and for making sure proper steps are taken. Harassment can come from a colleague, a supervisor, a subordinate or another person in the workplace, or even someone from the public.
Harassment is no simple topic. Early workplace harassment laws in the United States came from the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. At that time, it became illegal to harass people at work due to these traits.
What is Harassment?
- Harassment is generally considered any improper conduct directed at someone that is taken as offensive, disturbing, or upsetting by that person. It would also be considered offensive to any reasonable person.
- It can include acts, comments or displays that belittle or demean someone, or causes them embarrassment or humiliation.
- It can also be any acts of intimidation or threat.
- From a legal standpoint, the harassment must be so persistent that the employee is unable to do his or her job dues without interference.
- Certain types of workplace harassment can escalate to a hostile work environment.
Hostile work environments can be based on sex, race, religion, national origin, etc. This exists when someone is scared to go to work due to ongoing harassment.
Workplace harassment has also expanded to include discrimination based on a person’s age, veteran status or disability. In certain jurisdictions, sexual orientation, personal appearance and marital or citizenship status may also be included.
If steps are not taken by employers to fix workplace harassment situations, employers can be held liable to employees for damages. In these cases, employees must notify management of the conduct and it must be recurring (and not just an isolated incident).
All employees are entitled to a harassment-free workplace and employees found guilty of harassing someone should be subject to disciplinary measures, including possible termination of employment.
Supervisors and managers who are made aware of any harassment situations must address the situation immediately, whether or not a complaint has been filed. Such accusations are serious matters and should be dealt with as quickly and efficiently as possible. These situations should also be handled in confidence.
Modern Business Associates is an HR company that focuses on payroll and HR outsourcing. We routinely work with clients to lower their claim risk due to various topics, including harassment. As a Professional Payroll and HR outsource organization, our clients rely on us to help them effectively deal with these kinds of topics.
Currently rated by 0 people