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6 Common Types of Harassment in the Workplace and How to Spot Them

Workplace harassment exists in numerous forms. Besides, these harassment types come with a wide range of interpretations that anyone can easily miss the signs, including the most diligent HR professionals.In this post, we will highlight the top 6 most common types of workplace harassment and how to spot them.

1. Discriminatory Harassment

Every form of harassment at work is unlawful and discriminatory. But, unlike physical or verbal harassment, discriminatory harassment is defined by its intentions than how it is carried out. In this case, the victim suffers under the bully for being a protected class member. To curb this form of discrimination, every organization should have an employee complaint form, making it easier and more effective to report ongoing cases.

2. Racial Harassment

Racial harassment may occur due to the victim’s race, ancestry, citizenship, skin color or country of origin, among other related aspects. Harassment may often come in the form of racial jokes, insults and slurs making perceived features of certain ethnicities such as accents, beliefs, clothing and curly hair. Racial discrimination may also occur under cover of intolerance to differences, disgust and disregarding comments towards people of the stated attributes.

3. Gender Harassment

Gender-based harassment refers to discriminatory behavior towards an individual for their gender. The center of this form of harassment is built on the negative gender stereotypes that dictate how a particular gender should act or behave. 

Here are some of the most common examples of gender harassment:

  • A male nurse may face harassment when people perceive nursing as a female job.
  • A female banker may face harassment for not being a leader material despite their thriving career and performance.
  • A male employee may promote gender harassment by displaying materials such as posters and comics that disregard women.

4. Religious Harassment

Though commonly interconnected with racial discrimination, religious harassment narrows down exclusively to the victim’s religious beliefs. The victim may suffer at the workplace for adhering to a religion different from the “norm.”  You can spot this form of harassment in the form of intolerance towards religious holidays, customs, and traditions and mean religious jokes, pressure to convert religions and disregarding stereotypical comments. 

5. Disability-Based Harassment

Disability-based harassment is any form of harassment directed towards an individual with any disability, whether acquainted with a disabled person(s) or uses disability services such as sick leave and workers’ compensation. Such individuals may suffer harassment in the form of patronizing comments, isolation, refusal to accommodate them and teasing. 

6. Sexual Orientation-Based Harassment

Sexual orientation-based harassment is increasingly gaining traction and recognition as a legit form of workplace harassment. These victims face discrimination due to their unique sexual orientation that is different from the norm or that of those around them. The best example of this form of harassment includes a homosexual man facing discrimination at their workplace or teasing a heterosexual man for working at a hair or beauty salon.

Since workplace harassment comes in various types, even the most experienced personnel may easily miss the signs. So, companies should educate their staff about harassment and its consequences. The management and employers should also put adequate measures to curb harassment and help victims recover. If you are currently a victim, ensure that you get help for harassment in the workplace.