Workplace Harassment: Your Ultimate Guide, Let's Talk To The End!

Workplace harassment is one of the problems that hasn’t faded out yet. Did you know that 90% of workers report having experienced bullying at their job?

By person or online, workplace harassment can damage company performance and image. Employees will feel insecure. In the end, they may lose their spirit for best work performance. 

If you want your business to be successful, you must identify and eliminate all forms of harassment in the workplace.

However, some employers may miss many signs of workplace harassment.

Therefore, understanding the different types of harassment helps companies prevent and combat this negative behavior.

This article will provide information on the types and deal with workplace harassment. 

Let’s start!



What Is Workplace Harassment?

Workplace harassment is intentional aggressive behavior that causes physical or psychological distress to another person.

It may also include undesirable individual actions, threats, poor communication, and inoffensive jokes.

Legally, the term “harassment” means an act of discrimination. It becomes illegal when someone’s behavior feels intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

For example, it is illegal to bully someone because of their race, gender, age, disability, or other protected characteristics.



6 Types Of Workplace Harassment 

The first step in stopping workplace harassment is recognizing it. It is like how it looks, how it begins, etc. Workplace harassment comes in various forms.

Here are the most common workplace harassment issues you can encounter at the office.


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  • Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment refers to the actions that constitute sexual abuse, either physically or non-physical.

It is the most common workplace harassment often encountered in the workspace. 

According to a ZipRecruiter survey, 40% of female respondents and 14% of male respondents have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. 

Sexual harassment is illegal and unlawful discrimination. It can be perpetrated by or against anyone. 

Thus, this immoral act is not specific to a particular gender. Here are some types of sexual harassment at work:

  1. Rape
  2. Workplace sex
  3. Quid-pro-quo
  4. Sexual jokes, comments, or questions
  5. Sharing sexual photographs
  6. Making inappropriate sexual gestures
  7. Inappropriate sexual touching
  8. Posting sexual posters
  9. Sending sexual messages, etc

In some cases, it’s difficult to identify sexual harassment. Some perpetrators often try to be subtle.

As a result, sexual harassment brings discomfort and negatively impacts the victims’ life immediately.

It also creates a hostile work environment for the victim.


  • Physical Harassment

Physical harassment is also often called workplace violence—this kind of harassment involves physical attacks or threats to someone. 

It can be an assault such as physical fights, destroying company assets in some cases.

This violence is categorized as a crime. Some examples of physical harassment are:

  1. Physical attacks (hitting, shoving, kicking)
  2. Destruction of property to intimidate someone
  3. Threatening behavior (shaking fists angrily)
  4. Direct threats of intent to inflict harm

In avoiding this kind of inconvenience, companies must clearly describe the physical boundaries between employees in the workplace.

The company can implement the rule in company policy or disciplinary guide.

For this reason, the perpetrator will not be able to use any excuse to defend themselves.

People in certain industries may experience workplace violence. Some of these industries are:

  1. Healthcare workers
  2. Social services employees,
  3. Teachers and educators
  4. Retail staff
  5. Public transit drivers
  6. Peace officers


  • Verbal Harassment

This type of harassment begins with verbally, psychologically, or physically humiliating or harassing one or more people.

Violent verbal harassment occurs when people use their words to demean or insult others.

Sometimes, verbal harassment can result from personal conflicts that have escalated beyond tolerance.

Unlike sexual harassment, this negative behavior is sometimes considered a normal thing. On the other hand, someone may feel unpleasant with those circumstances.

Here are the obvious verbal harassment behaviors, including:

  1. Insulting or cursing
  2. Verbal aggression: yelling, threatening, cursing, insulting, and slurs
  3. Spreading rumors
  4. Making inappropriate remarks
  5. Attacks on the attitudes of the victim such as political ideals, religious beliefs, or nationality

Those kinds of abuse may remain unnoticed and unresolved. Some people may find it challenging to recognize that behavior since it is a nonphysical form of violence.

As a result, it can injure your health and career.


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  • Cyberbullying

Online bullying or cyberbullying is also a form of harassment on the internet and social media.

As technology evolves increasingly sophisticated, we need to realize that bullying doesn’t just happen face-to-face. It also occurs online.

Workplace cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, undesired or false content about someone else.

As a result, this information will spread like wildfire. Someone may feel uncomfortable with that situation. 

In some cases, some victims end their lives because of it. Although, this issue may be highly unusual. It has happened before.

The question is, how do we prevent it? We recommend some of the answers:

  1. Avoid participating in forums or websites that use anonymous posting.
  2. Walk away
  3. Avoid posting personal information on social media or online forums.


  • Retaliation

Retaliation is a form of harassment that occurs when an employee takes action against a coworker.

This kind of harassment is often overlooked and unidentified.It happens when the perpetrator is willing to take revenge on the victim for reporting them.

Furthermore, it’s a red flag or threat for the victim to behave in such a way again.

For example, if you file a complaint about a coworker and they find out about this and you are who made it.  The coworker might harass you as an act of revenge to not file further complaints.

In this situation, the employees are afraid of reporting the harassment because they don’t want to lose their job. 


  • Discriminatory Harassment

This type of harassment targets areas that are prone to discrimination.

Discrimination harassment is directed at someone’s race, age, gender, religion, disability, or sexual orientation in the workplace.

Discriminatory harassment in the workplace can take many forms, including:

  1. Being left out of activities or meetings
  2. Degrading comments
  3. Expression of disgust
  4. Intolerance of people’s differences
  5. Intolerance toward religious traditions, holidays, or customs
  6. Racial jokes
  7. Unfair criticism

Discriminatory harassments are particularly tricky to navigate. Hence, you should report to your employer if you’re experiencing any of these issues.

Discrimination in the workplace is illegal and very serious. If the problem continues, you may need to talk to an attorney. 


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Workplace Harassment Advice For Employees

To stop workplace harassment, the team must discuss and address the employee issues as soon as possible.

However, there are a few things you need to prepare before reporting:

  1. Document all harassment incidents 
  2. Get witnesses
  3. Arrange a meeting with your manager or an HR representative
  4. Stay calm and professional
  5. Follow up on your complaint

Suppose the employer does not respond to the staff complaint appropriately. This issue may come to a serious step. The employee may discuss it with an experienced attorney.




To sum up, workplace harassment, discrimination, and bullying are serious issues. It can be more than what we described above.

They are not only ruining your career and life. In this case, they are turning your business into an unproductive and toxic environment.

Hence, to keep your business safe and sound, the first thing you need to do is create a workplace policy. Providing training to employees on handling and avoiding harassment in the workplace can be an option.

If you face workplace harassment, you are protected by country laws and office policy. You can consult an attorney to assess your particular facts and situation.

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AUTHOR: Sibil Aina
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