By Demi Hanes, Trüpp.

What is harassment?

“Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA).” This behavior can be based on many factors including race, color, sex, age, or disabilities. An employer may be liable if they knew, or should have known, about the harassment but failed to act.

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What puts a company at high risk of workplace harassment?

Understanding and identifying potential risks and proactively implementing prevention tactics can help prevent harassment in your workplace. Based on a report with data collected by the EEOC1, many factors can result in high-risk conditions. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • Isolated workforces
  • Hospitality, sales, and retail workforces
  • Homogeneous workforces
  • Workforces with several young workers

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The direct and indirect costs of workplace harassment

Workplace harassment has more effects on the workplace than you might imagine. These include direct financial impacts that can tally into the millions, and indirect costs such as negative effects on your team.

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5 reasons your company should be providing harassment training.

There are many reasons to provide harassment training to your employees, including:

  1. Harassment is illegal
  2. Legal cases are costly
  3. It’s your brand
  4. Reduce turnover and increase retention
  5. It’s the right thing to do

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Two basic types of harassment

Quid Pro Quo: Harassment that results in employment decisions or actions in return for unwelcome conduct from the offender.

Hostile Work Environment: Harassment that creates a hostile environment for a target when in the workplace.

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The different perspectives of harassment in the workplace

In an inappropriate encounter, an employee may find themselves in one of three roles—the target, the offender, or a bystander. We often focus on employees who are the target of inappropriate behavior or the alleged offender. Yet, studies have shown that bystanders are the key to reducing workplace sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation, especially where employees have been equipped to respond when hearing about or witnessing these kinds of behaviors.

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Employee best practices and tips

Preventing race and color discrimination

  • Respect differences
  • Act professionally
  • Do not initiate, participate, or condone
  • Avoid offensive humor
  • Know company policies

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