Did you know that most working women — and many men — in this country have experienced workplace harassment? Unfortunately, it’s no wonder why. For too long, power has gone unchecked, and people have been scared to speak up and take legal recourse.
It’s a new world, however. There are many lawyers specializing in cases of workplace harassment. Once you learn how to recognize harassment, you can protect yourself and get the justice you deserve. But how exactly do you recognize harassment?
This article will help you recognize and report harassment and get started with a lawyer; for further information, refer to our Comprehensive Guide to Workplace Harassment.
Legal Definition of Workplace Harassment
Legal definitions are highly specific. This is because when it comes to sending people away and giving out large sums of money, there needs to be as little ambiguity as possible.
Harassment is legally defined as “unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex… national origin, older age… disability, or genetic information.”
Harassment is illegal when “1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.”
However, when harassment is part of the workplace, particularly on the part of your employer, it is often unlawful. This is more obviously exploitative because you need money from your job to live. If you’re being harassed by a friend, you could (theoretically) cut that friend out of your life — this isn’t true of an employer or many employees.
Let’s take a look at some types of harassment that can happen in the workplace.
Verbal harassment can be hard to measure. What’s offensive to one person might not be as offensive to another. However, slurs, insults, hurtful comments, and offensive jokes are some of the most common types.
Cyberbullying is a form of workplace harassment that’s arisen in the 21st century. Harassment in the digital sphere takes on its own unique, sinister character.
People are usually braver when they interact on the internet — this is because they don’t need to worry about seeing the consequences of their actions. They also don’t need to respond to blowback right away. They can send out a harassing message or leave a hateful comment and just walk away from it.
Workplace harassment can happen on workplace-monitored sites, like Slack, or it can happen through email. It can even be extended to social media sites that should have nothing to do with work.
Though cyberbullying is “easier” to pull off than in-person bullying, it’s also easier to prosecute. The evidence stays there on the internet and is easy to document and cite in a court case.
We recommend screenshotting and otherwise saving any sort of harassment you might go through.
Psychological harassment is significantly harder to track than cyberbullying, but it can be just as impactful. It can come from one party taking credit for another party’s work, singling out a particular employee with difficult deadlines, holding a firing or salary cut over their head, or even asking an employee to perform demeaning tasks.
It can also be combined with verbal harassment to make a general, repeated sense of discomfort for a particular employee.
Sexual harassment is one of the most rampant forms of workplace abuse out there. This can come from a direct form of harassment, like touching, groping, sexual advances, or targeted comments. But it can also creep up in inoffensive ways.
Harassment can start with passing sexual comments and jokes or sexist comments — it also usually comes with mild banter, which often lowers people’s defenses for more sinister forms of harassment.
Sexual harassment can also come in the form of a quid pro quo arrangement, where sexual favors are exchanged for continued employment. While this isn’t a physical violation of consent, it’s forcing a person into a position that they do not want to be in.
Our legal team doesn’t just handle hostile workplace sexual harassment but sexual harassment cases for particular industries. We understand that the dynamics in each industry are different. You’re going to need a different case depending on the industry that you’re in. For example, we get as specific as sexual harassment in the world of dentistry or the entertainment industry. We also handle LGBT-specific cases.
No matter what your workplace harassment needs are, we have you covered.
Understand Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is an unfortunate aspect of the contemporary working world. However, you can if you understand the signs of workplace harassment, you can get legal recourse for cases of workplace harassment in NJ.