Introduction and Definition
Harassment in the broad sense can be considered as a form of intimidation and discrimination. It involves any uninvited or unwanted verbal or physical behavior that humiliates or consistently offends the person which the harassment is directed to. Harassment is normally a phenomenon that persists over time, but there are cases of one-time harassment.
To narrow it down, workplace harassment can be seen as any unwelcome and unsolicited conduct, gesture or speech, with an ulterior motive of degrading the other person with respect to their religion, age, color, nationality, disability, sex, or any other genetic information where enduring the offensive and derogatory conduct becomes a mandatory condition for continued employment (or engagement), or the conduct is considered as severe and pervasive enough to create a working environment that a right-thinking person would consider hostile, abusive, demeaning or intimidating.
The issue of workplace harassment is not new; it has been observed and discussed for decades by relevant Boards and Authorities. Most victims are unsure of what qualifies as harassment and what to do when it occurs. Workplace harassment often goes unreported, and as such, it continues to be an issue. People get harassed and compelled to feel inferior at their places of work as a result of many of the before mentioned factors by their employers, seniors, colleagues or co-workers. Harassment may also include offensive jokes, name-calling, slurs, threats or physical assaults, ridicule, intimidation, offensive pictures, insults and lots more.Such conduct can wreck the healthy job environment, replacing it with unproductive and toxic atmosphere. Harassment is an increasingly prevalent form of employee evaluation which has diverse adverse effects (which cannot be overemphasized) on the career success and mental well-being. Harassment becomes unlawful when the act becomes a condition that is necessary for continued employment and where the actions are pervasive enough to create an intimidating, hostile and abusive environment for the employees. Anti-discrimination and harassment laws have been put forward in the pursuit of controlling the conduct of employees, employers and any other stakeholder of the organization that infringes the rights of the employee.
BEST PRACTICES AND POLICIES FOR AN EMPLOYER
The employer has a major role in tackling the menace of workplace harassment. Prevention is the best practice against workplace harassment.