Sometimes, workplace harassment goes on out of sight. This is because, unfortunately, it’s not possible to keep track of and look out for every employee all the time. The definition of professional behavior differs from person to person. In normal conversations, we see slang and curse words having more of a common place. Situations can turn quickly when racial slurs or gender stereotypes are brought into the conversation. These, or any others, can easily offend an employee.

You might need to consult a workplace harassment lawyer in any of the following three conditions:

Physical harassment:

Physical harassment can be very subtle to recognize; it does not always need to be loud and overt. Sometimes, one needs silence to hear the hints of the victim’s pain. Signs of physical harassment can include:

  • Hand gestures in the middle of work that are uncomfortable and convey inappropriate words or actions.

  • Touching somebody or their clothes in a manner that makes them uncomfortable.

  • Overt sexual expressions that are more prominent when others are not looking.

  • Standing uncomfortably close, in a manner that their body brushes another person.

We know that physical harassment doesn’t always need to be direct and visible. Inappropriate hand gestures, sly remarks and eye twists, and uncomfortable jokes are all part of physical harassment.

Verbal or written harassment:

Here is a list of kinds of workplace harassment that employees often report and experience, harassment issues that do not go unnoticed, even by HR.

  • Circulating memes or emails with offensive graphics about the religion and race of a person

  • Repeated requests for dates or sexual favors either through texts or in person.

  • Pointing out any illness or asking about genetic disorders.

  • Making comments about somebody's age or disability.

  • Mocking somebody’s way of talking or moving.

One small action can easily make its way around the office, on every phone and computer. If it reaches the senior executives, things will definitely take an uglier turn.

Visual harassment:

Visual harassment is the most derogatory form of workplace harassment.It’s highly subjective and needs more of an empathetic approach instead of a sympathetic one:

  • Clothes that are against the office guidelines, that are inappropriate for the workplace.

  • Putting up or displaying pictures that are semi, partially or completely nude or are sexual in nature.

  • Sending or showing other colleagues sexually suggestive emails or texts.

  • Looking at any pronogrpahicvideos or pictures in the office.

While some jokes can be funny, displaying them across your workplace can often come out as offensive and insensitive to others.

It's not possible to look out for all of these activities. HR is responsible for directing employees on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior in the workplace. Let’s look at the ways in which an organisation can help its employees in such cases.

Ensure that managers and executives keep themselves in-check too:

It’s important for top level executives to maintain their professionalism around the other employees. If they curse, it indicates that the other employees are in an environment where cursing is allowed. Therefore, top-level executives and managers should set an example.

List what is unacceptable in the office policies:

Employees have different view-points about their workplace surroundings, with a thin line between fun and hostile. It’s important to clearly define a code of conduct and what is acceptable and what must be avoided at all costs.

Start with workplace harassment training exercises:

Harassment prevention training helps employees understand their role in the workplace and how they can prevent harassment from happening. The training exercises also set clear guidelines between what’s acceptable and what’s not with reinforcement examples.

Talk about the legal consequences:

Talk to employees about the legal consequences of workplace harassment. You can encourage employees to come forward and talk about workplace harassment.

Swartz and Swartz Law has been among the most successful Boston personal injury and wrongful death law firms since the 1970’s . Gaining extensive experience in traumatic workplace harassment is an ongoing process. It requires you to take a closer look at what’s happening around your office and put yourself in the shoes of all different types of people. It also requires you to educate your employees on the different forms of workplace harassment and what they can do to prevent them.

Author's Bio: 

I am Eric Desuza a pro-level blogger with 5 years of experience in writing for multiple industries. I have extensive knowledge of Food, Fitness, Healthcare, business, fashion, and many other popular niches. I have post graduated in arts and have a keen interest in traveling.