Harassment at Workplace: Types and How to Tackle Them

Written By Shahzaib Arshad

Workplace harassment, a pervasive and damaging issue, comes in many forms.

It can be physical, verbal, psychological, or sexual.

Such an environment not only undermines the victim’s dignity but also affects the overall team morale.

While most organizations have policies in place to combat this issue, the key lies in recognizing the signs early and taking appropriate action.

This article will delve into understanding the different types of workplace harassment and provide actionable steps to tackle them effectively.

Types of Harassment at Workplace

Let’s begin by exploring the various forms of harassment that exist in workplaces today.

By understanding these categories, we can better identify, prevent, and address these issues to foster a more inclusive and respectful working environment.

Each type of harassment carries its own characteristics and impacts on individuals and teams.

Physical Harassment

Physical harassment refers to any unwanted physical contact that induces discomfort or fear.

It includes actions like hitting, pushing, inappropriate touching, or invading personal space.

This form of harassment can lead to severe physical and psychological trauma, creating an environment of fear, reducing productivity, and undermining the well-being of employees.

Verbal Harassment

Verbal harassment encompasses derogatory comments, slurs, insults, or inappropriate jokes targeted towards an individual.

It can occur in face-to-face interactions or through digital communications.

Verbal harassment can lead to a toxic work environment, hampering employees’ morale and overall job satisfaction.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment at work involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

This behavior can create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

It impacts not only the victim but also creates a negative atmosphere in the workplace.

Psychological Harassment

Psychological harassment, also known as emotional or mental harassment, involves consistent negative remarks or actions aimed at an individual, causing distress.

This form of bullying can lead to emotional trauma, including anxiety, depression, and lack of motivation, severely affecting an employee’s productivity and overall health.

Harassment at workplace

10 Ways to Tackle Harassment at Workplace

Let’s delve further into practical solutions to combat workplace harassment.

Respecting diversity and fostering an inclusive environment is paramount.

Here are ten actionable strategies you can implement to mitigate the risks, encourage open communication, and ensure a safe, respectful workspace for all employees.

Implement a Clear Anti-Harassment Policy

Ensure the existence of an articulated, easily accessible anti-harassment policy.

This policy should lay out the types of behaviors considered as harassment, including examples, and the consequences for such actions.

It must be clear that the organization takes such matters seriously and will not tolerate any form of harassment.

Provide Regular Training

Regular training for employees and supervisors on what constitutes harassment and how to respond can be vital.

Training should educate employees about their rights and obligations and foster a culture of respect and dignity.

Establish Reporting Procedures

An effective reporting system should be put in place where victims and witnesses can report incidents without fear of retaliation.

This system should ensure confidentiality, impartiality, and a swift response.

Promote Open Communication

Encourage an atmosphere where employees feel comfortable discussing issues related to harassment.

Open communication can help nip potential harassment in the bud and can make victims feel supported and understood.

Enforce Strict Disciplinary Action

If an investigation confirms harassment, proper disciplinary actions should be taken, irrespective of the offender’s position in the organization.

This strict enforcement sends a message that such behavior is unacceptable.

Harassment at workplace

Provide Victim Support

Companies should ensure adequate support for victims, which may include counseling, legal advice, or flexible work options.

This support shows that the organization stands with the victim, encouraging more people to come forward if they face harassment.

Maintain Confidentiality

Keeping reports and investigations confidential protects the victim from potential backlash and maintains trust in the reporting process.

Create a Respectful Workplace Culture

Promoting a culture of respect, inclusivity, and diversity can help prevent harassment.

A respectful workplace culture stresses the importance of treating everyone equitably.

Bystander Intervention Training

Bystander intervention training equips employees with the skills to intervene when they witness potentially harmful situations.

This approach can be effective in preventing harassment.

Periodic Review of Policies

Lastly, constant evaluation of workplace policies ensures they remain effective and up-to-date.

This process should consider changes in legislation, employee feedback, and lessons learned from past incidents.

My Boss is Harassing Me: What Should I Do?

If you are being harassed at work, it’s important to understand that this behavior is not acceptable and you do not have to put up with it.

First, inform your harasser that the behavior is unwelcome and must stop immediately.

If this does not work, document all incidents of harassment and build a support system with other colleagues who can provide corroborating evidence.

If the situation persists, report it to human resources or an appropriate authority figure within the organization.

Be sure to keep copies of any evidence you have.

What to Do if a Coworker is Harassing You?

If a coworker is harassing you, it is important to remember that you do not have to tolerate this behavior.

Firstly, make sure the harasser knows their actions are unwelcome by clearly communicating your feelings in a professional manner.

If necessary, document any incidents of harassment and inform other colleagues who can provide corroborating evidence.

In addition, you should report the harassment to human resources or an appropriate authority figure within the organization.

It is important to keep copies of any evidence you have and take notes about any conversations related to the incident.

Is Yelling in the Workplace Harassment?

Yelling in the workplace can be considered workplace harassment, depending on the degree and frequency at which it occurs.

If someone is consistently yelled at or threatened with termination or demotion, this could constitute a hostile work environment and could be a form of harassment.

In addition, if the individual being shouted at is of a protected class, such as gender or race, then it could be considered workplace discrimination and is definitely against the law.

If you or someone you know experiences any form of harassment, it is essential for them to inform their employer and take appropriate action.

To Wrap it All Up

Workplace harassment is an unfortunate reality for many people, but it should not be tolerated.

It is important to remember that you have the right to feel safe and respected in your workplace.

If you believe someone is harassing or discriminating against you, it is essential to report this behavior to your employer and take action if necessary.

It can also help to speak with a trusted colleague or legal advisor for additional support and guidance.

Taking action against workplace harassment can help ensure that such behavior is not tolerated in your workplace.

Last Updated on 6 months by Shahzaib Arshad

Shahzaib Arshad
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