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What are common types of hostile workplace harassment?

We take the time to scour the news on a regular basis, bringing you updates on stories of hostile workplace harassment from around the state.

No matter where you work, the job you hold, or the size of the company, there is always the chance that a hostile work environment could develop over time. If this happens, many people can become a victim.

According to the United States Department of Labor, "a hostile environment can result from the unwelcome conduct of supervisors, co-workers, customers, contractors, or anyone else with whom the victim interacts on the job, and the unwelcome conduct renders the workplace atmosphere intimidating, hostile, or offensive."

This covers many circumstances, however, the following are some of the most common types of hostile workplace harassment:

-- Using crude language

-- Discussing sexual activity

-- Telling inappropriate jokes related to disability, sex, race, or other like topics

-- Displaying racially or sexually suggestive images

-- Using demeaning language when dealing with others

-- Partaking in hostile physical activity

Although these are all common types of hostile workplace harassment, it does not mean it is necessarily a violation of the law. It can be a challenge to differentiate between behavior that crossed the line and behavior that can be considered illegal.

Every company should take the time to realize they have a responsibility when it comes to creating a safe work environment. There are times when an employee goes too far, which can lead to another person considering his or her options, such as reporting the accused and eventually filing a claim.

Source: United States Department of Labor, "What do I need to know about... WORKPLACE HARASSMENT" Oct. 20, 2014

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