Most of us cannot do our work without interacting with other people. Effective communication is usually part of the job, and cooperation can be essential. When interaction, communication and cooperation are hindered in some way the workplace can become "toxic" and threaten our sense of well-being. Feelings of stress, frustration and anger can boil to the surface. Attendance, productivity, quality and safety often suffer. When people hear the word "harassment" they usually think of sexually-related activity. But harassment encompasses a wide range of behavior from practical jokes to intimidation. It can also include threats, verbal abuse and discrimination, even stalking and assault. Anyone can be subjected to it. Our training products on Workplace Harassment in Industrial Facilities discuss the various types of harassment that are found in the workplace, how they can affect an employee's work situation and what employees themselves can do to help prevent workplace harassment.
Harassment is a form of employment discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Harassment is a very unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws, or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.