Work Place Harassment: Types, Concequenses And Solutions


Work place harassment that is getting ‘harass’ or ‘bully ‘in the work place by one of the co-worker or employee or third party or sometimes even by the employers. It is a serious problem which is increasing rapidly in the industry. It does not easily come in the lime light because of the people’s powers and their approach and people are afraid to share them publicly because of the threat which is given to them. So in this article I am writing about the work place harassment who does it, who are victims, types of workplace harassment, how does it affect a person health physical and mental health, life or his / her surroundings, it’s effect and what are its consequences and more importantly what precautions should be taken by us to prevent it from happening and what are legal remedies which can be provided to them in order to help them.

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Workplace harassment can also refer as “work place bullying”. The main misnomer related to the term ‘workplace harassment’ is that it is always sexual. It is because of the excessive use of this word whenever such actions surface. But in reality, talking in layman’s language, harassment mean any kind of gesture or behavior which makes the other person uncomfortable and is considered to be unethical and unacceptable. While talking about how to distinguish an action to be harassment, it is important to understand the terminology ‘harassment’ properly. Harassment can be in the form of intention one holds towards the other or can also be in the form of bullying. Also, dominating or applying superiority over another for some negative purpose also amounts to harassment.

For example, it would be harassment to give so much of work to complete during a specified time period which is impossible for a normal person to do under same circumstances. It can also be in the form of cyber bullying like spreading rumours about someone via social network or posting something offensive about someone, etc. It can also be sexual which includes inappropriate touching or forceful physical gesture etc. It is a serious problem which is faced by almost 3 out of 5 employee in a work place in one way or another. It can happen when someone at the working place do or exhibits inappropriate behavior which can cause provocation or threat to the other person life or do some misconduct. For example: by using inappropriate words, unwanted touch by someone, passing wrong jokes, discriminating the other, obstructing their work,. Harassment can be done on the basis of religion, caste, gender and age. It is done by one of the co-workers or the employee or by employer or even by the third parties like client. Thus, by observing all these aspects, it is understood that harassment is a term which cannot be boxed in a certain definition form but is rather diverse and so expand that it is practically impossible to contain it in a definition.

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Types of workplace harassment

Religious harassment

Harassing the employee because of his or her religious belief. Doing misconduct or wrongful actions by one employee to another because of his or her religious belief, it can be done by passing inappropriate or offensive comments, not letting the person do his or her work, by not entertaining him, by causing obstruction in their work, by making fun of their religious belief, passing wrong jokes about them, force them to convert their religion. This is face by many people, this mostly occurs when there is a majority of one religion and other does not want to accept the different religion employee, their beliefs or their because of their certain stereotype type thinking and assumptions which they have against that religion. Religious harassment is not gender biased it can happen with both the men and women. Sometimes harassment lead to several damages to the employee it can effects the person mental and physical health. Harassment can lead the person to depression or anxiety attack or he can drink alcohol in a way to make his mental condition better.

Gender harassment

Gender harassment referrers to, when a person or employee bullies or harasses another co-worker or employee on the basis of his or her gender inequality. It is not consider as a sexual harassment. It occurs when employee harasses the other for the type of work they do basis on their gender. They harass the other person by using wrong statement by passing offensive jokes, creates obstructions in their work, it happens because of mindset of the people for the gender and their stereotypes that what type of work is suitable or ‘Fit’ for which gender. For example when there is a male nurse in a hospital or a clinic it is still not acceptable by the people they still finds it odd. They do pass jokes about him. There is another stereotype that a firefighters should be a man because a lady cannot become a good firefighters or it is a job of the man. They fixed the gender- stereotype for the job. like a man cannot be a nanny as it is consider it is a job of the women. Even People are not accepting or considering transgender for a job they have to face harassment almost by everyone.

Disability harassment

Disability means any kind of incapacity with the person’s body which makes him or her different with respect from the other sets of normal individual or group. The disable person may differ from other individual in proper mental condition or physical condition or some sort of illness. There is a definition for the disable person in the Person with Disability Act 1995. Disability harassment or discrimination happens to a disable person when, if any employee, employer or some outsider (client) use some unwelcome activities, remarks, which leads in light of the person disability like Unhealthy remarks, gentle prodding, or even an incidental joke around a worker’s handicap condition. They sort to treat them different from the rest of the people in the employment. Refuse to help them or refusing them to give a better work opportunity, denied them from the promotions although it does not concern with the disability they have, tried to threatened them.

Age Discrimination

Age discrimination or harassment includes treating worker, employee or a candidate less positively because of his or her age. Age harassment takes place when other employee, workers, or any other third party ( client, staff) do some misconduct or mischief with them,which is not appropriate like passing wrong comments about a person age, laughing at them, refusing them to give promotion because of their age and asking them to take retirement, not providing them the job opportunities, giving their share of work to other young employee, hiring only young employee for a certain type of job which does not have to do anything with the age factor, not paying them equally, taking the promotion opportunity from their plates by plotting and even try to terminate them from the job by changing their job responsibilities, denies them from giving the compensation and job security.

Physiological harassment

Psychological harassment is disturbing conduct that shows itself as a direct, verbal remarks, activities or motions which are unwanted in nature, can cause defamation to the person, can cause adverse effect on the person personality or dignity,by using words which can effect or low the person self esteem, can disturb their mental health, cause them depression or anxiety, this all can be done by any employee, worker, third party which work with them. Insulting the person, by using inappropriate words, by making fun of them, by provoking them, isolating them, by not talking with them, by doing some kind of unwanted physical touch which effects their mental condition and creates a sense of fear in them.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is an unwanted sexual touch, which is done against the person consent and which make them feel bad, upset, humiliated or offending. It includes verbal and non- verbal. It is considered as harassment when one of the two parties is not giving the consent for doing or it. It is against their will. It can be take place at various places or events like in a office or in work related parties. It is refers as a harassment when there is some kind of bad gestures by a person, touch is not necessary, it can be happen verbal also like passing cheap comments, writing down the letters or messaging the person or by sending them the mails. Sexual harassment is faced by both the men and women but a woman faces it more as compared to man. Employee faces them when someone of higher authority wants to give them the promotion but in exchange of some kind of sexual behavior or threat them to lose their job, denies them from giving the promotion or any kind of job security.

Quid pro quo sexual harassment

Quid pro quo means THIS for THAT Quid pro quo sexual harassment happens in a workplace when some high authority, someone who is in power of giving a employment offers some kind of deal or do leave some clues to the employee regarding fulfilling their sexual needs. This may happen when:

  1. When the employee want a promotion
  2. When the employee has come to give interview
  3. When the employer threaten the employee to fire him or her.

For example a person has come to a company for the job of assistant photographer and he or she is suitable for that job also but the employer who has power of giving him or her job show some kind of clues to him or her for fulfilling their sexual needs to get a job. Quid pro sexual harassment happens both with man and women but as compared to man it happens mostly with the women in large. Third party harassment Harassment which is done by the third party.

Third party can involve:

  1. Person who is not a employee of the company he can be a client
  2. It can be a contractor of the company.
  3. For example if a client or let’s say contractor wants to give the contract to company but in exchange of some kind of the sexual desires or need which can harass the person and can cause the adverse affect on his / her physical and mental condition.

Consequences of work place harassment Affect health of the individual Work place harassment effect the health of the employee who is working in that stressful condition it can affect the health of the employee in the following ways:

  • Increase stress level
  • Increase pressure
  • Disability for performing the works
  • Anxiety attack
  • Sleep deprive
  • Loss of confidence
  • Financial issues
  • Physical disorder
  • Emotional issues
  • Depression
  • Humiliation

Work place harassment can also affect the financial condition of the employee.

Legal remedies for the workplace harassment

Keeping in mind the problems faced by the victim because of harassment, law has provided everyone with equal rights to seek for justice and obtain remedies for the loss caused. It can be in the form of damage where the culprit concerned has to pay for the loss through financial support or it can be injectors in nature which prevents or restrains any person to continue doing any action which threatens or invade the legal rights of another.

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