Addressing Workplace Harassment – How An Attorney Can Help
When you feel unsafe at work, it can have a massive impact not only on your job performance, but on your happiness, well-being, and physical and emotional health. Unfortunately, many Americans do not feel safe at their job due to workplace harassment, with 43% of respondents in a 2019 survey saying they experience harassment in their workplace. If you believe you are experiencing workplace harassment, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you find a solution—but there are a few important things you should know before filing a claim.
Defining Workplace Harassment
Workplace harassment is generally defined as belittling or threatening behavior that occurs in the workplace, directed at a specific individual or a group of individuals.
Workplace harassment is often sexual. Sexual harassment includes inappropriate grabbing or touching, lewd remarks in relation to gender, or offering promotions or perks in exchange for sexual favors.
Types of Workplace Harassment
However, harassment does not have to be sexual to be harmful and hurtful. Other types of harassment occur because of someone’s
- Country of origin
- Physical or mental disabilities
- Sexual identity
- Marital status
Types of harassment at work can include
- Telling off-color or offensive jokes about a specific group of people
- The usage of offensive terms to describe a person or group of people
- Commenting on physical appearance
- Displaying sexual, racial, or otherwise insensitive pictures
- Hostile physical contact
Additionally, harassment may arise from situations that involve promotions, workplace benefits, or workplace activities. For example, if an employer made a religious event a mandatory aspect of employment, this might go against an employee’s personal beliefs. Asking an employee to do anything against their beliefs or wishes in exchange for a promotion or preferential treatment is also harassment.
The Impact of Workplace Harassment
Along with creating a hostile work environment, workplace harassment can also take a toll on your health and well-being. Harassment may lead to anxiety, depression, or other personal health issues, which have an effect on you everyday well-being. If you suffer in an unsafe environment, or get fired due to your beliefs or identity, you may experience a loss of wages and other strains.
What To Do
When you are experiencing harassment at work, it can be hard to speak up. You might be worried that your harasser will find out and increase their toxic behavior, or that you will be reprimanded for speaking up. However, federal laws protect you for retaliation or punishment for addressing harassment in the workplace. It is your right to report or oppose harassment, and your employer cannot legally retaliate against you for doing so.
Before seeking legal action to end your workplace harassment, there are a few important steps you should take first. You should make an attempt to directly address the issue within your office, like by talking to a supervision, your harasser’s supervisor, or your company’s Human Resources department. Ideally, they will have a clear anti-harassment policy in place to help you address the issue, and will do everything they can to make the workplace safe for everyone.
Unfortunately, some companies do not have clear policies or might brush off the complaints. When this happens, even after you take all the steps to address your complaint, your next option may be filing a claim with the assistance of an experienced attorney.
If you are experiencing workplace harassment or any other unsafe workplace conditions, an experience attorney can help!
The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.