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Identifying harassment in the workplace

The workplace is a place in which you should feel safe, respected and inspired to work. It should be in the employer's interests to create such an environment, because this motivates employees to work effectively.

Unfortunately however, workers can face issues in the workplace that make them feel uncomfortable, embarrassed or unable to work effectively. No worker should have to experience this, and there are, in fact, laws that protect employees from being harassed at work.

Many employees do not have a full understanding of what harassment is. Harassing behavior is wide-ranging and it can be executed in many different ways. Any type of harassment is simply unacceptable in the workplace.

What is the definition of workplace harassment?

Workplace harassment is defined as any type of behavior that creates a hostile environment in the workplace. This means that if a worker is worried about entering the office or feels embarrassed, ashamed or unable to relax because of another employee's actions, this constitutes workplace harassment.

What are the different types of workplace harassment?

There are many different types of harassment that are recognized. One of the most common is discriminatory harassment. This encompasses different types of discriminatory behavior, from racial to age-based. For example, a worker might be made to feel uncomfortable because another employee insults their religious beliefs. Alternatively, an employee might have jokes made about their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Both of these examples would be considered to be instances of discriminatory harassment.

Personal harassment is an instance in which a person is bullied, teased or otherwise ostracized for no reason at all or for their physical appearance or perceived personality. This can be just as harmful to a person as discriminatory harassment.

Sexual harassment can occur through an employee's abuse of power. It can also occur through inappropriate jokes, gestures or communication. Such harassment might occur in person, or it may come about through online communication with coworkers.

If you are being harassed in a workplace in New York, it is important that you do not tolerate the behavior under any circumstances. You may want to report the behavior to your manager, and take further action if necessary.

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