What is considered “harassment?”

Generally defined, harassment is any derogatory action, verbal or physical, that is perceived negatively by the receiving party. These can be actions made via slurs, graffiti, comments, pictures etc. Harassment is illegal and can also be perceived as such if any of the actions are based on protected classes such as race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability, or genetic profile. Harassment isn’t only based on actions or comments regarding race or religion for example. It can also be sexual. This can include sexual advances that are unwelcome, requests for favors, trades (I’ll give you a promotion if you…), and any other actions that create a hostile or offensive work environment. Often harassers are victim’s managers, colleagues and even clients.

If a complaint is filed, it is the company’s responsibility to take appropriate action to ensure further discrimination does not occur. Be very careful with comments and/or decisions that can be seen as retaliation. For more information on how you can protect your company against harassment, contact StaffScapes at 303-466-7864 or info@StaffScapes.com. StaffScapes is a local human resources and payroll company that specializes in helping small businesses since 1996.