On the Job Harassment – When It’s Not All Fun and Games Anymore
August 19, 2011
By: Erica D.
Have you ever felt uncomfortable at work or has a co-worker ever “given you the creeps”? Is there someone you work with that you feel intimidated by to the point of actually being fearful of them? If you have ever experienced any of these feelings then you may have been the victim of on the job harassment.
Your workplace, although it might not be your home, is still a place where you have every right to feel safe in and be able to focus on your job instead of how you are treated by other employees. You and your fellow employees should complement each other as you work together and you should never have to work in an environment where you feel bullied, discriminated against or where you feel that you can’t speak your mind for fear of retribution.
What Is On The Job Harassment? – Basically, on the job harassment is when a coworker might touch, hit, punch, feel, fondle, caress, maul or lick any part of your body in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. While contact is not always necessary and there are guidelines and books written on the subject, if a coworker does something that you feel fearful of speaking about with them or a third-party, then you have probably been harassed.
There might be times when your harasser might say that the contact or comment was welcomed. But instead of blaming yourself or feeling as if you are trapped, just think about this. If you were close enough with this coworker then you wouldn’t have a problem with telling them to knock it off. The important aspect of any sort of harassment is how you feel and not what your harasser thinks since many harassers or bullies are very good at manipulating and your particular instance of on the job harassment probably isn’t an isolated case.
What You Can Do About On The Job Harassment – While you might wish to just sweep it all under the rug or hope that your coworker or boss just forgets about it or never does it again, this is seldom the case. Your first step towards resolving the issue and getting back to living your life and loving your job again should be to face your coworker. If this is an isolated case and a simple misunderstanding then talking with them should set them straight and there will never be such a misunderstanding or any form of harassment again. This might make things a little weird for a while between you and your coworker or boss but they will get over it or they can deal with option number two.
Option number two can also be your primary option if you truly feel fearful of retribution or you just don’t want to deal with the situation. After all, you are there to work and there are people like your Human Resources person, who is trained to deal with harassment and that is who you can go to with your concerns if you feel fearful of talking with your harasser.
A skilled HR person will know how to handle things and if there is retribution for talking to someone in human resources about the incident then you have another problem that you can talk to HR about. In situations that involve harassment your concerns should be kept anonymous and a good HR person will be able to handle things so you shouldn’t feel as if you did something wrong or be perceived as a rat or tattle-tell.
Harassment is a serious problem and one that often carries the penalty of immediate termination in most companies. You have been hired to do a job and so has your coworker. Part of your job is not to feel intimidated or demoralized in any way and your coworker was not hired to harass employees. You have the right to work in a place that is safe for you both physically and emotionally and that is your employers responsibility to support a peaceful and safe place for you to do your job free from on the job harassment.
Sidenote: If you feel that you are being harassed or discriminated against in the workplace, please know that there is a law against such behavior. For further information, click HERE to visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
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