How To Stop Harassment At Work

By Haris Aamir

7 November 2022

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What Is Considered Harassment?

Harassment is defined as unwelcome, insulting behavior that makes a person feel intimidated or embarrassed. These practices are intended to undermine your dignity and create a hostile and degrading environment. When an action is consistent and persistent, it is considered harassment. However, it is not a one-time occurrence.


Most Common Types Of Workplace Harassment

There are numerous ways in which a person can be subjected to workplace harassment. Let's take a look at some of the most prevalent workplace harassment issues:


  • Discrimination

Discriminatory tactics can include social exclusion, refusal of promotions, or differential employment benefits and treatment. This is frequently based on protected factors (such as gender, race, age, and so on), but it can also be due to differences in social status, educational background, or nationality.


  • Sexual Harassment

Unwanted sexual advances and behavior toward a subordinate or coworker are considered sexual harassment. It is a serious form of occupational harassment. Preventing workplace sexual harassment should be a top focus. Physical assault, touching, comments about appearance, sexually suggestive gestures, and harassing e-mails or text messages are the most typical forms of sexual harassment.


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  • Physical or Verbal Violence

Tripping/pushing someone, spitting, removing or damaging their possessions, and even kicking or hitting someone are all examples of physical abuse on the job place. It can also be verbal abuse if a coworker is subjected to disrespectful or intimidating remarks. Workplace harassment of this nature should not be condoned.


  • Bullying / Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can include making disparaging or discriminating remarks online, as well as public humiliation. Cyberbullying is the use of social media or emails to spread gossip or embarrassing/inappropriate information about a coworker or subordinate, and it is common in the workplace.


Ways To Prevent Harassment At Work

Now that we've identified the most common ways employees can be harassed, let's speak about prevention tactics and best practices:


1.    Set Expectations

Several prominent corporations have lately sent memoranda from their executives emphasizing their expectations for a respectful workplace, where misbehavior and other detrimental actions are not tolerated. Don't underestimate the importance of setting expectations - and keeping yourself accountable - because your staff is watching.


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2.    Build A Healthy Workplace Culture

Building a good workplace culture should be a top priority for any firm since it has a significant payoff. Respect, good communication, diversity, and inclusion are fantastic places to start, but controlling unconscious prejudice and effectively resolving conflict takes it to a whole new level. We recognize that there will continue to be challenged. To help individuals call out and stop poor behavior, use a language, such as our color-coded Workplace Color Spectrum.


3.    Create Culture Keepers

Motivate your staff to take on the role of Culture Keepers in your healthy, respectful workplace. They give positive rewards for good actions and keep bad ones in check in ways that HR, legal, and business leaders cannot. You may promote this by encouraging open discourse and a truly open-door policy.


4.    Change How You Train On Sexual Harassment

If you treat sexual harassment prevention training as a tick-box compliance activity, completing the bare minimum every other year, you're missing the point. Employees should be learning from their training, given tools to help them do their jobs better, and provided opportunities to practice those skills throughout the year. Preventing workplace harassment training information should be a resource they may use whenever they encounter a problem.


5.    Handle Complaints And Investigations In A Fair And Respectful Way

It does not "assist" the firm when HR makes it difficult for workers to come forward, buries concerns, dismisses retaliation, or allows "high value" employees to behave badly. You want to hear about incidents as soon as possible so that you can resolve them. And, to be effective, you don't have to remove the human element from HR. You can listen and comprehend the problem from each person's point of view.


6.    Use Authenticity When Sexual Harassment Accusations Go Public

While the actions outlined above should help to reduce future incidences, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements indicate that previous workplace sexual harassment incidents may 'become public' on social media. This is a serious business risk. If you must make a statement, be genuine.