Did you know workplace harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates several government acts? The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission defines it as “unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy), national origin, older age, disability, or genetic information.” Harassment is illegal, and employers must learn how to handle and prevent it in the workplace.
When Does Harassment in the Workplace Become Unlawful?
Workplace behavior becomes unlawful harassment when:
- An employee must endure offensive conduct to remain employed.
- The behavior is severe enough to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive work environment.
What Are the Most Common Forms of Workplace Harassment?
Name-calling, inappropriate jokes, physical contact, slurs, threats, ridicule, and other hostile behavior can impede an employee’s productivity and create a hostile work environment. The most common forms of harassment include:
Prevention is the Best Tool For Handling Workplace Harassment
Is an employer liable for the harassing behavior of a supervisor or manager? Yes. Unless the employer can prove they took immediate action against the perpetrator of harassment or the victim of harassment failed to take advantage of preventative or corrective opportunities offered by their employer, the employer could face legal consequences.
Therefore, it makes sense for employers to create an effective harassment complaint or grievance process and enforce it consistently. Employers can also benefit from providing anti-harassment training for managers and supervisors and ensuring all employees understand an organization’s expectations for employee behavior.
Creating a work culture where employees feel safe raising concerns and know that leadership will swiftly address their grievances will protect your business from potential liability—and create a safer, more inclusive environment for your employees.
Harassment in the workplace is one of many essential HR issues employers face every day. Premier Talent Partners can help your organization stay on track. HR In A Box is a suite of tools to help emerging businesses and well-established companies with their HR needs and challenges. Find out how we can help your company prevent workplace harassment, handle grievances, and streamline your HR processes today.