How to deal with workplace harassment

Author: Tosin Rilwan Lasisi

Workplace harassment

How to deal with workplace harassment is one of the many issues we face in our society today along with discrimination and workplace insubordination.

Workplace harassment includes different types of discrimination and acts of violation directed at an individual worker or a group of workers. It can be physical, verbal, online or sexual in nature.

Recently, matters of workplace harassment is beginning to gain interest among practitioners and researchers. It is becoming one of the most sensitive areas of effective workplace management.

How to deal with workplace harassment

Below are some types of harassment at the workplace and how to deal with them.

Senior Employee Harassing a Junior Employee

Instances of a Senior employee harassing a junior one is not uncommon. Such individuals majorly take advantage of their higher positions in the company, trampling on the rights of junior employees and going as far as threatening them. How do you report an individual to the authority when such individual is the authority (her)himself?

Apart from the board of an organisation, sexual harassment is a serious crime and victims should report to arms of the law such as the police.

Remember, no one is above the law and you need a healthy working environment to attain maximum productivity.

Sexual Harassment

This is perhaps the most common type of harassment in the workplace, affecting both males and females alike. Cases of sexual harassment at work is starting to spark outrage all over the world. It has led to various campaigns and movements predominantly on social media, the most recent being the #MeToo movement. 

Although, of recent, victims of sexual harassment have been urged to report such cases instantly. Most victims however are reluctant to do this because of fear of stigmatisation by the public. However, reporting such incidents is the very first step towards making things right. This ensures that the perpetrators of such heinous acts get due punishment.

Most cases of harassments show that female are the major victims. However, male employees face harassment too. In the world we live in today, people are quick to shrug of this issue when it affects a man. You hear statements like “you’re a man, you must have enjoyed it”. Statements like this make such victims uncomfortable talking about their experiences.

However note that human resource departments are meant to help employees at their companies, especially in serious situations in which employees feel uncomfortable or in danger. So, regardless of your gender, don’t shy away, talk to your HR about such issues.

Workplace and Company Blackmail

Workplace intimidation, also known as workplace bullying, occurs when a superior or peer uses violence or blackmail to manipulate employees. It usually creates feelings of fear, inadequacy or awe[1]. Workplace intimidation includes illegal sexual harassment and discrimination, but is not limited to illegal behavior[2]. Such behavior is destructive to the victim and the company.

Examples of cases of workplace blackmail may include instances of verbal abuse, jeopardizing a colleague’s work, etcetera.

The consequences of such activities include a decrease in productivity and an increase in internal friction within the company.

To keep cases of blackmail in check, company policies should be put in place. Also, maintaining a healthy working environment will go a long way. In addition, victims should be encouraged to report issues to the appropriate authorities as soon as possible.

We have been able to look at how to deal with workplace harassment. Feel free to drop your contributions in the comment section.  

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