Any type of harassment in the workplace is against federal law if it is based on a discriminator reason such as race, religion or gender. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act disallows it, and most states have laws against it as well. Workplace harassment doesn't necessarily have to cause you financial harm. You may not lose your job or be denied employment. But if someone or something is making your work hours miserable, this is a form of discrimination.
Harassment Creates a Hostile Work Environment
Workplace harassment can result in a hostile work environment. Your job becomes a hostile work environment when someone's behavior toward you is consistently verbally abusive or embarrassing. The harassment can be sexual or racial in nature, or general.
It might make you fearful, distressed, or unable to think clearly enough to work. You might feel trapped, but you need the job so you can't quit. This goes on day after day. Your workplace probably isn't hostile if abuse is only occasional.
Sexual Harassment May Be Quid Pro Quo
"Quid pro quo" harassment is a type that is usually sexual. It's a Latin term that means an exchange of some kind is taking place. Your employer might offer you a raise or other employment perks if you take part in a sexual relationship.
If you accept the offer, you might have a hard time proving that it was sexual harassment.Your employer's behavior must be something that makes you uncomfortable and upset. It's also sexual harassment if you say no, then you lose your job, have your pay cut, or receive some other kind of punishment because of your refusal.
Harassment Includes Supervisors and Co-Workers
The person tormenting you doesn't have to be your boss or the owner of the company. The behavior can come from any supervisor or even a co-worker. The harassment might not even be directed at you. You might be uncomfortable or distressed over watching a co-worker deal with this treatment. If you complain to your supervisor, but the company does nothing, the company may be liable.
You Have Options
You don't have to put up with harassment in your workplace. Your first step should be to but your company on alert that harassment is taking place and that it is upsetting you. If nothing changes, you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the EEOC will investigate. Your employer may not retaliate against you in any way for filing a complaint.
An Employment Lawyer Can Help
The law surrounding harassment in the workplace is complicated. Plus, the facts of each case are unique. This article provides a brief, general introduction to the topic. For more detailed, specific information, please contact an employment lawyer.