Harassment at Work: What Is It?
Every rude, degrading, belittling, or threatening action is considered a kind of harassment. In work, it can also mean acting in an unkind, humiliating, or demeaning way toward the individual. Coworkers, employers, managers, supervisors, employees, and other individuals are just a few examples of the many parties that might be involved in workplace harassment.
Sexual harassment and hostile work environments are the two main categories of workplace harassment. One of the main sorts of sexual harassment is “quid pro quo” harassment, however there may be many more variations and types as well. In order to obtain benefits from a subordinate employee, quid pro quo sexual harassment commonly occurs in the workplace (such as a promotion or raise).
Quid pro quo harassment can also occur when a superior threatens to fire a subordinate if the latter declines to engage in sexual conduct. This can be done in a number of ways, such as delaying a promotion, firing an employee or threatening to do so, taking away benefits, and more. The major form of workplace harassment that is neither sexual harassment nor quid pro quo is unpleasant working conditions. Claims of a hostile workplace are made when there has been persistent or widespread behavior or communication that is deemed offensive, severe, undesirable, or unwelcome.
A hostile work environment must interfere with the victim’s capacity to execute their job for the behavior to be termed hostile. Usually, it goes beyond simple taunting, games, or insults. It is necessary for the behavior or activity to be hostile in character. Other factors, such sexual harassment or even discrimination, may also be present in cases of hostile work environments.
Sexual harassment and a hostile work environment can have serious negative effects. They may result in negative legal outcomes, such as the defendant losing their job, as well as other outcomes, such as the payment of damages. Criminal charges may be made in extremely serious situations, and these charges may carry additional penalties like jail time or fines.
Which laws safeguard employees from sexual harassment?
Workplace sexual harassment is prohibited by several federal and state statutes. These laws outline what constitutes harassment and provide numerous penalties for breaking them.
The meaning of sexual harassment may vary depending on the state legislation. More specific actions like these can be included in them:
- Making inappropriate or insulting sexual jokes, making comments about a person’s body or physique, touching another person’s clothing, or spreading false information about someone’s sexual life are all prohibited.
When it comes to workplace harassment, harassment rules also outline a number of employee obligations. If someone is harassing or acting inappropriately, they can be required to notify human resources, especially if the victim’s health, safety, or life is in jeopardy.
What Concerns Harassment Not Associated with Work?
Of course, besides a workplace, harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances and settings. For instance, there are several grade levels where sexual harassment can occur, and it can involve actions that are like those at the workplace. Inappropriate touching, advances, humor, and other actions fall under this category.
There are other ways that harassment might take place that are against the law. Examples of this type of behavior include stalker incidents and other privacy-invading actions. In other situations, harassment can also happen. Instances of harassment by debt collectors or telemarketers are among them, as are cases of gender discrimination and telephone harassment. These situations can be dangerous as well; particularly if the victim thinks that the harasser is endangering their personal safety.
Examples of harassment that doesn’t occur at work include:
- unwelcome phone calls that keep coming in.
- persistent pressure on social media sites.
- stalking is persistently and repeatedly pursuing a person.
- using different forms of coercion or forceful language to achieve a specific purpose.
- Making threats against someone’s safety, including threats against their family ones.
- In some instances, harassment can really progress to the level of assault, battery, or hate crimes, particularly when the behavior becomes violent.
What Must I Understand Before Filing a Lawsuit for Harassment?
It can be difficult to file a harassment claim. If you want to make a harassment claim, keep the following things in mind:
- If you believe a violation has occurred, you should file a lawsuit as soon as possible because there may be filing deadlines and time limits for doing so.
- Whether you can prove that you were the victim of sexual harassment can affect the number of damages awarded in your case. In order to prepare your case, make sure to gather as much evidence as you can, such as books, emails, witness statements, pictures and videos, and other items for the jury.
- In addition to a simple damages award, a sexual harassment claim may also result in revisions to the company’s harassment rules, the dismissal of the offender from their position, and other workplace modifications.
- In a harassment case, the accused may have defenses at their disposal; while you get ready, you should consider such defenses. A lawyer can help with case planning.
Before you can initiate a private civil lawsuit for damages, you may need to file your claim with a governmental department or agency first for some types of claims. To figure out what your first course of action should be, you might need to speak with an attorney.
When Dealing with Harassment, Do I Need a Lawyer?
You might want to engage a local attorney if you need help with any legal matters relating to harassment, whether they arise at work or at home. You can receive advice from your lawyer on how to best present your case, and they can act as your advocate during significant court proceedings.