Workplace harassment is one of the most heinous activities that can occur in any organization. When in an organization, an employee is harassed by another employee on his/her disability, religion, caste, race, age, and sexual identity, then these harassments comes under workplace harassment.
This unethical behaviour comprises several unwanted activities towards office employee such as abusing, hitting, cast/racists remarks, mental or physical harassment, etc.
Most of the time, female employees become a victim of workplace harassment, considering this, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has passed an act “The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, (“POSH Act”) in 2013.
Every organization should be extremely concerned about such dreadful activities and they should try to ensure appropriate precautions to avoid such acts.
Workplace harassment is not just limited to sexual mistreatment or unlawful activity that may occur between two employees of the same organization but also beyond this. Anyone can be a harasser in the organization such as your manager, other department’s supervisor, fellow worker, office colleague, etc.
There are several types of harassments that may exist in the organization and can harm you emotionally and professionally.
Listed below are the types of workplace harassment one may face at the workplace.
10 types of Workplace harassment
In the case of physical harassment, an employee can be harmed physically by pushing, punching, slapping, and other types of physical abuse.
Physical Harassment Includes:
- Straight intimidations to impose damage
- Physical Attacks (hitting, shoving, kicking)
- Direct Physical Invasion (punching, kicking, pushing)
- Intimidating behaviour
- Damaging belongings to threaten
In this situation, the employee may suffer from unwanted remarks, insults, and offensive & derogatory statements.
Personal harassment is a type of workplace persecution which is not directly related to some particular areas such as race, gender, and religion.
Personal Harassment Includes:
- Humiliating Comments
- Personal & Offensive Jokes
- Critical Statements
- Ostracizing behaviours
- Intimidation Tactics
This type of harassment at the workplace is related to the employee’s race, caste, creed, gender, age, religion, etc.
In the case of discriminatory harassment, the person may experience different types of persecution such as:
- Racial Harassment: The victim of racial harassment may experience an unpleasant behaviour because of his/her race, skin colour, ancestry, origin country or citizenship.
Racial Harassment Includes:
- Racial slurs
- Racial insults
- Racial jokes
- Degrading comments
- Intolerance of differences.
2. Gender Harassment: The intention of this inequitable behaviour is to criticize someone on the basis of his/her gender. Usually, gender harassment is about forcing someone to behave according to their gender whether men or women.
3. Religious Harassment: This persecution is closely related to racial harassment, but also connected to the victim’s religion. A person who is suffering from religious harassment may experience painful religious jokes, humiliating comments, or can be forced to convert his/her religion.
Religious Harassment Includes:
- Not considering religious holidays
- Intolerance toward religious traditions
- Intolerance toward religious rituals
- Harsh Religious Jokes
- Humiliating stereotypical comments
- Pressures to convert religions
4. Disability-Based Harassment: The victim of this unkind behaviour may experience injurious teasing, humiliating comments, negation to reasonably accommodate or isolation because of their disability.
5. Age-Based Harassment: Victims of this kind of harassment go through insults and harassment at the workplace because of his/her age. The targeted person of this harassment is subjected to humiliation, insults and are often neglected in activities and meetings.
In this awful condition, the employee can be harassed and mentally tortured by another person on his/her professional as well as personal level. Psychological harassment can disturb a person mentally as well as emotionally.
Psychological Harassment Includes:
- Separating or neglecting the targeted person
- Demeaning or trivializing the targeted person’s opinions
- Doubting or spreading gossip about the victim
- Contrasting or questioning everything the victim says
Harassment in any form is unacceptable but this is one of the worst in all types of harassment. In this, an employee can be sexually abused by another employee of the organization. There is a strict provision in the Indian Constitution for this unlawful act.
Sexual Harassment Includes:
- Sharing Sexual Photos (pornography)
- Sexual Comments, Jokes, Questions
- Unpleasant Sexual Touching
- Disagreeable Sexual Gestures
- Occupying personal space in a sexual way
In this, a person intentionally bothers someone else to get revenge and also prevent the victim from behaving in such a way again.
This is the most common harassment that occurs in the workplace.
Example of Retaliation:
- Employee A raises a complaint about Employee B.
- Employee B discovers the complaint and who made it.
- Employee B persecutes Employee A to get revenge and fend them from raising complaints in the future.
As the name indicates, third-party harassment is when someone from outside of the organization creates an unpleasant working environment against any office employee. That person can be a supplier, vendor, or client of the company. Usually, young adults who are at a lower position in the hierarchy of an organization, suffer from third-party harassment. Their lack of experience and their poor decision-making ability make them an easy target.
Dissimilar from other persecution, verbal harassment is not considered as an illegal activity. In fact, verbal abuse is related to “when a person behaves mean or unpleasant to other people constantly”. This is the reason why a lot of verbal persecution goes unnoticed and unresolved in the organization.
This persecution is common in workplace harassment which is related to the power inequality between the harasser and the victim. In this scenario, the harasser bullies the victim who is in a relatively lower position. Power harassment is not just limited to a particular unpleasant behavior, it can be related to verbal as well as physical violence.
Power Harassment Situations:
- Extreme targets or demands that are impossible to achieve
- Demanding work beyond the capability of the employee
- Getting into the employee’s personal & private life
Tips to Stop Workplace Harassment.
The harassment at the workplace should be prohibited completely, or else, it has the potential to put the organization into an embarrassing lawsuit that may damage the company’s reputation. The following tips can help the organization to stop this intolerable behavior among the employees and make the working environment more positive and productive.
- Create, update, and implement new policies against workplace harassment.
- Conduct training sessions for the employees to make them aware of the Workplace harassment.
- Improvise the organization’s complaint system, so that employees can report any kind of harassment immediately.
- Adopt quick action and effective resolution policy against the harassment.
LAWS IN INDIAN CONSTITUTION AGAINST WORKPLACE HARASSMENT
Quitting your job is not the solution for workplace harassment, instead of this, raise your voice against this unpleasant behavior and fight for your rights.