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Workplace harassment isn’t exclusive to just one type or industry. Supervisors, colleagues, and customers may all harass others in the workplace. And employees can escalate harassment as much as they want without anyone knowing.

There are many forms of workplace harassment a person can be subjected to. As a result, they must know the types of workplace harassment and what they can do to protect them. Harassment can lead to a harsh work environment for anyone involved. It can also cause a lack of psych for those targeted and lead to high staff renewal rates.

Employers that tolerate harassment in the workplace can be held legally responsible. This article will explore types of workplace harassment and how to best handle the situation so that it doesn’t escalate further.

Discriminatory Harassment

Victimizing workers because of their protected traits is a prohibited form of occupation bias. In most cases, discriminatory harassment is defined by the rationale of the perpetrator. These comprise the following:

  • Gender harassment – This is harassing an individual based on their gender.
  • Racial harassment – Perhaps it is the most common form of discriminatory harassment. It’s harassing a worker because of their race or perceived race.
  • Religious harassment – This type of harassment involves harassing a worker because of their religious and spiritual practices and beliefs or lack of it.
  • Sexual orientation – Involves harassing and victimizing a worker because of their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation.
  • Age harassment – This entails harassing older employees based on how old they are.
  • Disability harassment – This type of harassment involves harassing a staff member because of their disability, perceived disability, or their connection with a person living with a disability.

Any form of staff discrimination is illegal. Discriminatory harassment can take many shapes, including insults, harassing calls, texts, and emails. It can also be slurs, demeaning treatments, and others.

If harassment becomes too much to create toxic working conditions, the worker may hold the company legally responsible. And if they are found guilty, the employer must pay for damages. The accused may also be fired, transferred, or demoted.

Workplace Violence

Workplace violence, also known as physical harassment comprises physically assaulting a person or making threats. When this form of harassment is extreme, it may be categorized as assault.

Employers should prohibit any unwelcome physical touching, even one that is considered playful. It is because no matter what, the person touched or contacted could be uncomfortable by it. The following actions may be categorized as workplace violence harassment;

  • Direct threats of brutality and violence. It includes threatening to harm a worker or inflict pain.
  • Physically attacking a worker. It may include kicking, hitting, and even shoving.
  • Destroying property and throwing things at a person to intimidate them.

Take note of these actions; if you are a victim of any of these, it would be best to escalate it to HR.

Online Harassment

The rise of remote and online working spaces has birthed online workplace harassment. More and more people are now working online from the comfort of their homes. With this type of work arrangement, it’s not clear where work starts and when it ends. As a result, some workers are more prone to bullying their colleagues online than they would if they worked in a normal office setup.

This type of harassment can occur during typical work hours and sometimes outside. For example, sharing personal information about a colleague on a group chat and sending sexual photos and messages to a colleague. It may also include spreading lies and gossiping about a co-worker in an office group chat.

If a team member is harassed online, the matter has to be reported to the employer. Likewise, the employer should act immediately to stop the behaviour and penalize any worker found guilty.

Power Harassment

Power harassment is when a person in power discriminates against or uses their position to abuse someone under them. Their behaviour goes past the usual employer-employee relationship. In most cases, it’s more destructive and unpleasant.

A workplace should be conducive and welcoming for all. It is a place where every worker can grow and make a positive impact on the company and their colleagues. Yet, there are instances where workers are treated in a way that violates barriers between the boss and the subordinate.

That said, a person in power or a position of authority should never use their status to intimidate, discriminate, taunt or bully a colleague. Unfortunately, this happens more often than people care to admit. Still, this behaviour is a classic sign of power harassment.

Power harassment can take many forms. For instance, if a person in a position of authority or power discriminates against you or physically harasses you, that qualifies as power harassment.

When it comes to sexual harassment, if your superior is the one committing sexual insinuations and inappropriate behaviour, this will also be considered power harassment.

How To Stop Workplace Harassment

A workplace environment can be a stressful place to work, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are some tips to help make a workplace safe for all employees.

Create a policy against harassment and discrimination that is enforced consistently.

Teach managers and employees how to deal with conflicts without being hostile or offensive.

Another way to stop workplace harassment is through training. If workers know what types of behaviour are considered inappropriate and unacceptable, it will be easier to address any issues that arise. Ensure all employees receive training about their rights at work and their responsibilities as employees, including when it comes time for them to leave (or get fired).


Workplace harassment is a serious issue, no matter where you’re working or what kind of job you have. It’s crucial to keep in mind that negative situations can be handled before they become severe problems. Preventing workplace harassment is possible if the necessary policies are put in place.

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