Harassment is not acceptable in any setting, and it can be especially offensive in the workplace. Many employees spend the majority of their waking hours at their jobs, and a hostile environment can make that time unpleasant.
Thankfully, there are means to protect employees against harassing activity. However, employees must identify and report such actions. Particularly in regards to harassment due to one’s sexual orientation, there are a few key facts to know.
While harassment is a form of discrimination, they are not synonymous with one another. While harassment may be due to a party’s unique differences, harassment involves a continuous pattern of creating a hostile environment that would make any prudent person uncomfortable. It is important to note how the discriminatory practice takes place is a key qualifier for determining harassment. In particular, sexual orientation harassment is harassment due to an individual’s sexual orientation.
Companies have discrimination and harassment policies in place to discourage such activities. Being familiar with these policies can be helpful. Not only do they relay what constitutes an inappropriate activity, but they also share how to handle such instances, should they occur. Parties should try to utilize the set channels within the company to address any discriminatory issues.
Along with company laws, certain federal laws protect parties of protected classes. While there are no laws that specifically protect those with different sexual orientations, certain laws against sex-based discrimination and harassment do apply. Understanding these laws may be beneficial, should a person decide to escalate a complaint to a harassment claim.
For those who believe they face harassment for their sexual orientation, reporting it is key. Also, for a successful investigation process, properly recording instances of harassment and collecting any relevant evidence can be helpful.