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What is Considered Harassment in the Workplace? At the base level, harassment is anything that can be taken as discrimination in the workplace. At a more specific level, there is an innumerable amount of ways that someone can find to harass another human being. People are incredibly creative when it comes to find new ways to bully when behavior is specifically laid out. Instead of naming every possible sin against a coworker, a broader principle was created to cover them all. The federal anti-discrimination laws see it as any behavior that is discriminatory against another person. These can be made against age, gender, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation.

What Counts? The offensive behavior can include, but are not limited to, making fun of an accent, derogatory statements, inappropriate emails or chats, racial slurs, or comments against one’s faith. These kinds of behavior are absolutely unacceptable and they should be respectfully stood up against. Employees can usually go to their managers or HR department about these issues and get guidance. Harassment is more than just debasing another in one instance though. For the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), an isolated incident does not count as harassment. Although these comments can be hurtful, everyone makes mistakes. Apologies and correction can still be made. Work can continue as normal.

Continual Behavior When the behavior is pervasive however, that is when it becomes a problem. Continual negative behavior can have an extreme effect on the comfort of an employee to work in that environment. If this behavior is made continually, get someone else involved to help you through it. Proper warnings will be given and punishments affixed if warnings are ignored.


Sexual harassment is in a class of its own. Although it’s still based around the idea of making someone feel uncomfortable, it has a number of subcategories to consider. Inappropriate behavior counts as sharing inappropriate images or videos, sending suggestive letters, making inappropriate gestures, inappropriate physical content, or making sexually lewd comments about another person. This should never be accepted or encouraged in the workplace. Employees that feel uncomfortable with the way someone is crossing the line need to report this behavior. There are few things that can make an employee feel uncomfortable quite like this. Don’t let it stand in your workplace.

Report it and get help immediately. The number of ways you can harass a person is endless. The best way to describe it is any behavior that debases another based on a protected status, makes them feel worthless and uncomfortable, or is otherwise interfering with equal employment. It’s the employer’s responsibility to provide a workplace that is both physically and emotionally safe for their employees. Harassment from another employee threatens the emotional, and sometimes the physical, safety of an employee. Employers should hold periodic harassment training sessions to remind their employees what’s okay and what isn’t. Harassment training should teach the concept well and give a few examples of inappropriate behavior. Teach them what kinds of behavior to avoid and make clear the consequences of infraction. Harassment training will help you regulate the standards expected of each employee. Photo Credit: Lawyersandsettlements.com,


What is Considered Harassment in the Workplace?