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How to Recognize and Respond to Workplace Harassment

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How to Recognize and Respond to Workplace Harassment

Most of us will have to take up a variety of jobs to make a living. Workplaces are usually the place where we spend a majority of our time. Many corporate jobs require their employees to work in close proximity to one another, so having an occasional quarrel in the workplace is no surprise. However, when these small quarrels or disagreements turn into harassment, it becomes a grave issue.

Workplace harassment can have hugely detrimental psychological effects on an individual. It can make going to work unbearable. Any type of harassment, whether severe or even mild, needs to be stopped as soon as it begins; otherwise, it prompts more harassment. Unfortunately, dealing with harassment in a professional setting can be quite tricky, and most people don’t know how to go about it. This article will give you a few tips on how you can stop harassment in the workplace.

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How do you tell the Difference Between Casual Banter and Harassment?

Most harassment usually doesn’t begin with a blatant act of disrespect; instead, the person tries to push your boundaries as far as they can go. This is especially true for sexual harassers. What starts as flirting could lead to unwanted advancements. So how do you differentiate?

The answer to this is quite simple; a harasser will not respect your boundaries. If you’ve ever been in a situation where a person is deliberately making you feel uncomfortable, then you need to report them for harassment. Often, the reason a person performs acts like these is so that they gain control.

If you notice that a colleague begins to yell and talk condescendingly to you when you don’t do what they want, that is probably harassment. These individuals will also try to pass off insults as jokes, and they tend to constantly say things that will make you question yourself. Sexual harassment can start with a few crude jokes and escalate from there—that’s why it’s crucial that you report your harasser. Don’t be afraid to take things to the next level if their behavior doesn’t stop.

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What you can do to hold the person Accountable?

Many people that undergo workplace harassment don’t report it simply because they “don’t want to make a fuss over nothing.” But the truth of the matter is that people that do these things won’t stop unless they are held responsible for their actions.

So how can you report these actions?

Well, the first step is to gather as much evidence as you can. This could include inappropriate text messages, emails, or even a bunch of witnesses who have seen the person behave inappropriately before. Keep in mind that although evidence is useful.

There are some situations that are difficult to get concrete evidence for. Regardless, you must report your harassment to prompt further action.

Usually, you will need to file a complaint with the company’s Human Resource department. However, you can also contact an association like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to ask for advice. Different countries tend to have different resources, so it is essential to look into what is available to you. Once you’ve filed your report, it’s likely that the HR will take action within the next few days. However, always ensure that the action undertaken is satisfactory.

Remember that harassment is never okay in any situation.

A workplace cannot function well if its employees do not treat each other with respect. It is simply impossible to work properly when you are in a situation like this. That’s why you should always be on the lookout for this kind of behavior and be sure to never tolerate more than you have to.

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About the Author

BCjobs.ca is Western Canada’s largest job board, and host of “Innovators” a weekly podcast interviewing top recruiters in BC and across Canada. Check out our recent interview with PawSwap’s Co-founder and CEO Aliya Bhatia (Podcast link).

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