You can protect yourself from harassment in the workplace


If you’re struggling with harassment in the workplace, you need to know about the laws surrounding workplace harassment. Under the federal laws and Department of Labor’s policies, harassment of employees based on religion, sex, gender identity, pregnancy, color, race, national origin, disability, age, parental status, genetic information or sexual orientation is illegal.

Harassment comes in two forms in the workplace. The first is called quid pro quo harassment, which is when an employee’s treatment is based on the person’s willingness or unwillingness to welcome certain conduct. Generally speaking, this kind of harassment tends to be sexual in nature.

Another kind of harassment is based in offensive conduct that creates a hostile environment. That environment may also result in adverse employment decisions.

Basically, when you think about quid pro quo harassment, think of it as harassment that asks something of you in return. If you don’t comply in the way requested, then you’re retaliated against. For example, if you’re fired for being unwilling to have a sexual relationship with your boss, this is quid pro quo harassment.

A hostile work environment harassment claim is different, because it can simply refer to a negative or hostile environment that makes it hard or impossible for you to do your job. Some behaviors that can make a workplace hostile include commenting on someone’s physical appearance, unnecessary touching, discussing sexual activities, telling off-color jokes about a person’s disability, sex, or race, or even using indecent language.

To be harassment, conduct must be unwelcomed by the individual. It must be abusive to the person it affects and it must be severe enough to make a work environment so hostile that any reasonable person wouldn’t work there.

Our website has more information on what to do if you’ve been a victim of workplace harassment. You deserve a chance to have your case heard.

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