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Workplace Harassment and its Types

Workplace Harassment and its Types

Workplace harassment is just like a parasite, which sooner or later turns out to be threat to an organization and has enough potential to take down any business along with its reputation. Even though its prevention is quite obligatory, many enterprises are unaware of the circumstances of disregarding the preventive measures. With certain effective training methods, a company can easily control and eliminate harassment. But firstly, an organization must comprehend the concept of harassment and its types which often cause discomfort to the employees and affects businesses.

Its presence is undeniable, as workplace harassment exists in each and every corner of an industry, whether it may be big or small. If defined, Workplace harassment can be stated as a conduct, statement, action or any sort of misbehaviour put forth/imposed on an individual or a group which disrupts the office environment. To put it simply, workplace harassment occurs when a person is harassed by another employee or entity in any workplace. Meanwhile, in the corporate world, it is also referred to as ‘workplace mistreatment’ or ‘workplace bullying’. Such sort of conduct/ behaviour is intolerable and the accused could be held against the law if found guilty. Unfolding the concept clarifies that workplace harassment itself includes some forms through which one can easily determine in which category the conduct falls. Mainly there are three basic types of harassment which are strongly experienced by the employees in various enterprises.

Discriminatory Harassment

Most of all the unlawful harassments are discriminatory in nature. Unlike physical or abusive sort of harassments, discriminatory are often defined by the intentions. In this case, an oppressor harasses victims based on their race, colour, gender, nationality, age, sexual orientation and more. While the most common discriminatory practices are drafted/portrayed below:

Racial Discrimination:

People often judge and misbehave with an individual based on which race one belongs to. An individual or group often gets victimised by such acts due to its different descents, skin colour or the way of living. Mostly, the harassment includes offensive comments—even humour, ethnic slurs, circulating offensive pictures, demeaning one’s morale, etc.

Sexual-Orientation:

The world might have moved on from displaying disgust over an individual’s sexual orientation yet, such harassment is more likely to be witnessed in many workplaces. Sexual orientation-based harassment is now being considered legitimate type of workplace harassment and measures have been taken to prevent it. It generally includes mistreatment to a person who is of the LGBTQ orientation. People often experience such harassment depending on their line of work. The work surrounding does play an important role in the happening of any misconduct against an individual. Even the people of heterosexual orientation get harassed on their choices of profession. For example, a heterosexual may get harassed by the choice of career as a nurse, fashion designer and more. Such stereotypical monotony is often creating divisions in the workplace and disturbs the healthy environment in various workplaces. Harassment goes beyond than just yelling for being late; instead it may vary between holding promotions, delivering baseless acquisitions, and baseless termination because employer or manager refuses to work along with a differential orientation.

Sexual Harassment

Unlike the sexual orientation based harassment, this type of harassment means any demeaning action imposed on victims that are sexual in nature, which mostly includes unwanted sexual advances, misbehaviour or conduct. Sexual harassment directly impacts on a person’s performance and creates a hostile work environment for the victim, as the actions are profoundly more humiliating, intimidating or offensive. Such sorts of intolerable misbehaviour are held with strict actions by the court, and the bully might also have to face jail-time. Knowingly it is against the law, yet sexual harassment is quite common in corporate workplaces and industries. Besides, many initiations have been implemented by the various organizations in an attempt to totally neglect or at least prevent any conducts from happening. Sexual mistreatment mostly includes circulating of one’s obscene images, delivering sexual comments and jokes, inappropriate sexual gestures or touching, and invading personal space sexually.  

This also has another segment—Quid Pro Quo translated as ‘this for that’, is an exchange-based sexual harassment. In this case, employees are generally offered various benefits in an exchange to a part in a sexual conduct with a senior-level official. This type of harassment could be explicit or implicit; an employer might give a direct call or just a hint to the harassed personnel.

Third-Party Harassment

Unlike the others, this sort of harassment falls into a certain category where the perpetrator is not from the same organization, but actually an outsider. This outsider could be a customer, client, vendor, supplier or anything but a colleague. The most common victims of such harassment are the young adults who belong to low-grade and low-power jobs. Their minimal experience or unwillingness of dragging a scenario makes them subservient, making the harasser more dominant on the victim. If an employee faces such sort of harassment then it’s a responsibility of an employer to look into the matter and take action against the oppressor. There are some circumstances, where the third-party is either more powerful or beneficial to the company and thus, harassments are neglected or swept under the rug. Yet, it is mandatory for an organization to step up against such misbehaviour irrespective of the position the harasser acquires.

Above are just some of the aspects of harassments which can be witnessed in each and every organization. Thus, a company must implement certain preventive measures in order to prevent any sort of mistreatment in the workplaces. Employees should also take part in such initiatives carried out by organizations. A cumulative balance between both entities will surely bring out effective results for the greater good of an organization.