What is Harassment and Its Types
Cinderella woke up to her stepmother pulling her out of bed and throwing her out. It was time for her to get up and do the necessary house chores. As she rubbed the tiles diligently, her older stepsister passed by and spilled the bucket of water right there, messing up everything. Back on her feet, Cinderella went back to mopping the floor. Cinderella faced this humiliation daily. The offense went throughout the entire day, be it morning or night. It was not until prince charming came to the rescue then the ordeal stopped.
Judy sat at her desk, contemplating Cinderella’s story. Unfortunately, no prince charming could come to the rescue. And no pumpkin carriages with a magic wand to save her. She had to deal with Monica on her own. Amanda appeared at her door. Judy looked up desperately. They both exchanged glances when Amanda asked, “is it Monica again?”. Judy replied sadly, “Yes.” Almost everyone in the office knew, and not only noticed, how Monica put Judy down.
As her manager, Monica asked Judy to do tasks that typically took three weeks in two days. She would demand reports at the very last minute, which would require her to stay for several hours after work. Not only that, but Monica would also criticize her in front of everyone during meetings and belittle her. Judy did not quite understand why Monica treated her that way! while she was friendly with everyone else. Shouldn’t women be supportive of other women?
Moreover, Judy was not the only woman on the team. It was not until Amanda told her that Monica had a particular disliking of people of her color. Judy was stunned. Amanda let her in on another secret. She said to her that Judy was not Monica’s first incident.
There was another team member a few years ago who gave up and resigned in the end. Why then was Monica in the company? Were they supportive of her? Despite her discriminative and racial bullying of workers, keeping her meant the company was on her side. Amanda drifted in her thoughts. Her memory raced back to the day she joined the company when she was 23 years old. Within a couple of years, Amanda earned a managerial position. She recalls how older workers bullied her around. They thought she was too young for the role. After all, they strived for similar titles.
Moreover, she was a woman, which to them implied, she does not have enough leadership material. After ten years within the organization, Amanda has proven that she was the best for this role. She looked back to Judy, who looked angry and disappointed. The room fell into silence. Suddenly, Monica barged in. She looked disgustedly at Judy and yelled: “you are just wasting time”. Judy stood up, and just as she was about to reply, Monica approached her and stood very close to her, glaring into her eyes. Monica lowered her gaze. Her mind was only thinking of one thing, escaping this place as soon as possible.
Chances are, you have either witnessed or lived something similar. From Cinderella years ago to Judy and Amanda in today’s 2021 workplace, the world still suffers from bullying and harassment in all its forms. On National Stop Bullying Day, let’s explore harassment and bullying in-depth and help Judies and Amandas around the globe.
What is Harassment?
Harassment is unwelcome behavior that offends you or makes you feel threatened or embarrassed. It can occur alone or in conjunction with other forms of discrimination.
Unwanted behavior might include1:
- physical gestures spoken or written insults or abuse harmful emails
- tweets, or comments on social networking sites
- photos and graffiti
- jokes with facial expressions
Types of Harassment in the Workplace 2
1. Racial Harassment
Racial harassment can occur due to a victim’s ethnicity, skin color, heritage, birth nation, or citizenship.
2. Gender-based harassment
Gender-based harassment can occur because of someone’s gender. Gender Harassment is frequently motivated by negative gender preconceptions about how men and women should or do act. Here are a few examples:
- 1. Lack of female leaders due to a perception about women: not suitable for leadership
- 2. Harassing a male nurse because he is doing what is regarded as a woman’s job
3. Religion-Based Harassment
Religion harassment can occur because of someone’s religious beliefs.
4. Disability Harassment
Disability harassment occurs because of someone’s disability, or due to be acquainted with someone who is disabled themselves, or because of using disability services.
5. Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a type of harassment that includes unwanted sexual advances or behaviors.
6. Power Harassment
Power harassment occurs when someone higher in the organization bullies someone lower hierarchically. Some forms of power harassment are asking the victim to perform excessive demands that are impossible to meet, giving the victim tasks far below their capacity or experience, or trying to intrude into the victim’s personal life.
7. Age-Based Harassment
Age-based harassment occurs because of someone’s age and the stereotypes associated with it
8. Psychological Harassment
Psychological harassment occurs when the harasser tries to put the victim down and belittles them personally or professionally.
9. Personal Harassment
Personal harassment is the most basic form of bullying. It’s when the harasser starts to harass the victim by inappropriate comments or jokes—intimidating them or talks to them offensively.
10. Physical Harassment
Physical harassment, often known as workplace violence, is a form of harassment that involves physical assaults or threats.
1Accessed 20 August 2021, https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/law-and-courts/discrimination/what-are-the-different-types-of-discrimination/harassment/
2Swartz Legal LLC, Accessed 20 August 2021, https://swartz-legal.com/what-are-the-most-common-types-of-harassment-in-the-workplace/ Katie Yahnke, January 17 2018, 11 Types of Workplace Harassment, i-sight, Accessed 20 August 21, https://i-sight.com/resources/11-types-of-workplace-harassment-and-how-to-stop-them/
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