Harassment in the workplace is a form of discrimination that violates state and federal employment laws. Workplace harassment can cause extreme physical and emotional damage to victims. Workplace harassment victims are likely to suffer from depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, and even have suicidal tendencies.
However, not all workplace harassment is illegal. Simple teasing comments or isolated incidences that are not serious might not be considered illegal.
Unlawful workplace harassment must be offensive enough to make the work environment hostile. Federal law protects workers, whether federal employees or private sector workers, from workplace harassment. For harassment to lead a hostile workplace, it must violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Workplace Harassment Doesn’t Have To Be Sexual in Nature
Most victims only consider workplace harassment to be sexual harassment. However, harassment also includes physical and verbal actions based on a person’s race, religion, sex, color, nationality, disability, genetics, or age.
For conduct to be considered harassment, it must reflect this behavior:
- It’s unwelcome
- It’s abusive to the affected person
- It’s repeated to the extent that it creates a hostile or abusive work environment
For harassment to be illegal, it doesn’t have to be from your supervisor or manager. Co-workers and non-employees can also create a hostile work environment.
Moreover, the person making the harassment claim doesn’t need to be the one affected by the harassment.
What to Do When You Experience Workplace Harassment
If you experience workplace harassment, the first thing to do is to tell the harasser to stop. If this doesn’t improve the situation or you are uncomfortable asking the offender to stop, contact human resources to report the conduct. Most companies have a policy on reporting harassment behavior. By doing this, you will make the offender aware that their behavior is offensive.
You also need to record the hostile acts committed to you and how you responded to them. If you have proof that the hostile behavior was constant, you are likely to win a court case.
Hire a Workplace Harassment Lawyer in Arlington, VA
If the offender doesn’t stop the harassment conduct and your employer takes no action, it’s time to contact a hostile workplace lawyer.
Proving harassment at the workplace in a Virginia court can be difficult. Therefore, it’s smart to hire an experienced Virginia employment attorney to ensure your employee rights are not violated. Contact HKM Employment Attorneys LLP in Arlington to schedule a free consultation. We’re experienced in working with clients from all over Northern Virginia, including Fairfax and Alexandria. Our employment lawyers can help you navigate the process of making a claim.