Harassment in the workplace can happen in a variety of ways. Human Resource departments across Florida are doing what they can to educate their employees, but the game keeps changing.
The problem comes in the employee’s perceptions, which vary. What one person finds funny, another may find offensive. Understanding what constitutes workplace harassment can help to clarify guidelines.
Types of workplace harassment
There are several types of harassment in the workplace that are problematic.
- Written harassment occurs in emails and texts that are graphic in nature. Examples of this include sending out an email with offensive jokes about race or religion or repeatedly sending texts requesting sexual favors or dates, especially when the recipient has already said no.
- Verbal harassment occurs when a person makes disparaging comments about another person’s ethnic background, physical appearance, disability, or age.
- Visual harassment occurs in a variety of ways. Displaying pictures or posters that are sexual in nature, wearing clothing that has vulgarities written on it, showing another person(s) a graphic email or text, or watching pornographic videos in the workplace are all problematic.
- Physical harassment such as unwanted touching, making lewd gestures or sexually suggestive facial expressions, or purposely standing too close to another person when they’ve repeatedly asked for space can all be considered harassment.
Should you feel that you’ve been a victim of harassment in the workplace, it’s important to alert the human resources department. They will need documented proof of the incident(s) you are reporting, which means you should write down dates, times, people involved, and the names of any witnesses to the harassment. You might also consider contacting an experienced legal guide to help you decide which steps to take next.