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Harassment : Resolving Conflict

Updated on March 29, 2015

When people work together misunderstanding and conflict are inevitable but this should not be allowed to escalate.Harassing is an improper conduct by an individual that is directed at and offensive to another individual including at any work or any location related to work and that the individual knew or ought reasonably to have known would cause offence or harm.The employer is ultimately responsible for providing and supporting a harassment and discrimination-free work place for all employees.


All employees are entitled to pursue their duties in a respectful work place.In some cases conflict can be a good thing like process improvements or better ideas to serve the customer.


Start With Prevention Of Harassment:

Essentially the definition of harassment means that more than one act or event need to be present in order to constitute harassment ans that taken individually this act or event may not constitute harassment. It is the repetition that generates the harassment.Most successful preventive strategies and plans on sexual harassment require the involvement of all those concerned and a clear statement of intent.


Anti-harassment policies explain what harassment is ,tell all employees that harassment will not be tolerated and set out how employers and employees should respond to incidents of harassment.This is your legal obligation,but it also makes good business sense.The same laws that prohibit gender discrimination prohibit sexual harassment.

What Is Harassment:

Harassment is a form of discrimination.It involves any unwanted physical or verbal behavior that offends or humiliates you.The term harassment can mean different things,and can take place different settings,including your home,your work of place,your school or via the phone or internet.This can include things such as unwanted attention being followed or persistent sending of letters or unwanted gifts.


Although harassment is often thought of as an overt use of power it can also appear in more subtle guises.Bullying can be defined as an offensive behavior which violates a person's dignity or creates an intimidating,hostile,degrading or offensive environment or which humiliates or undermines an individual or group.There are two elements involved in harassment,one involves behavior that is improper or abusive ,the other with behavior that is unwelcome or unwanted.


The behavior is considered unwelcome if it is perceived as such by the person being harassed.Harassment often occurs when there is a disparity of power not just when men and women work together.A third person can be offended by harassing behavior among willing participants.The purposes may vary including racial prejudice,personal malice,an attempt to force someone to quit a job or grant sexual favors ,apply illegal pressure to collect a bill or merely gain sadistic pleasure in making someone fearful or anxious.


A systematic pattern of harassment by an employee against another worker may subject the employer to a lawsuit for failure to protect the worker.Harassment is both a criminal offence and a civil action under the protection from harassment act 1997.The act also says you must have experienced at least two incidents by the same person or group of people for it to be harassment.Generally criminal harassment entails intentionally targeting someone else with behavior that was meant to alarm ,annoy,torment or terrorize them.


Though state harassment laws vary they often take different levels and methods of harassment into account.Sexual harassment may be homosexual or hetero sexual.Racial harassment is any behavior deliberate or otherwise pertaining to race,color,nationality including citizenship or ethnic or national origins which is directed at an individual or group or which is found to be offensive or objectionable to recipients and which creates an intimidating,hostile or offensive environment.


Harassment At Work:

The employment equality acts 1998-2011 place an obligation on all employers to prevent harassment in the workplace. Under this law you are entitled to bring a claim to the equality tribunal and your employer may be obliged to pay compensation if you are harassed.Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace.The employer is automatically liable for harassment by a supervisor that results in a negative employment action such as termination,failure to promote or hire ,and loss of wages.


A complaint of harassment must be filed within twelve months of the last event of the alleged harassment leading to the complaint unless there are extenuating circumstances. Preventing a person from expressing himself or herself: threatening,constantly interrupting that person,prohibiting the person from speaking to others comes under harassment.A hostile environment is created as a result of the harassment by a co-worker,supervisor or visitor.


If you feel like you have been a victim of work place harassment it is important to file a claim with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission(EEOC).Harassment can not only cost an employee their job but it can also make job searching difficult. References may be hard to get and it can be difficult to explain the circumstances of why you lost a job during the job interview. Just like their immature little brothers and sisters on the school yard work place bullies use the same tools of intimidation and manipulation to bring you down.


Watch the sure signs of a bully that signifies more than a simple misunderstanding or personal disagreement.As unpleasant as it may sound the first thing you should do is confront the person who is mistreating you.If your conversation doesn't resolve the problem or if you decided to skip the conversation altogether the next step is to make an internal complaint.


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