When you enter your workplace, you should feel safe. You shouldn’t have to worry about being treated properly by your boss and coworkers. That’s why there are laws in place against workplace harassment so that workers can feel comfortable in their work environments, but unfortunately, some people break those laws. When you’ve been harassed at your job, you need to know what your options are.
At DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, we’re here to represent you after facing workplace harassment. One of our employment lawyers will ensure your rights are protected and the perpetrator of the harassment is held accountable for their actions.
How to Recognize Workplace Harassment
Being harassed in the workplace is against the law. According to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), workplace harassment is considered employment discrimination, and violates all of these laws that are in place to prevent wrongful treatment of employees or potential employees.
It’s important to understand that workplace harassment is not just a fellow employee annoying you, or your boss asking you to complete a task that you don’t want to do. Harassment is serious. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines harassment as unwelcome conduct based on race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information.
Harassment crosses the line of breaking the law when the unwanted treatment becomes a condition for employment, or the actions are severe and create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive work environment. Here are some actions that could be considered workplace harassment:
- Offensive jokes
- Racial or other slurs
- Name calling
- Physical assaults
- Offensive objects or pictures
- Interfering with work performance
While these are the main actions that are considered to be workplace harassment, these aren’t the only things that could happen to you and be unlawful. What’s listed above, or any other action that offends or threatens your safety can be considered unlawful conduct.
Whether your supervisor, employer, co-worker, or non-employee, their actions could still be considered harassment. Let’s take a look at what your options are after you feel like you have experienced harassment of any kind in your workplace.
What You Can Do About Workplace Harassment
Even though being harassed in the workplace might leave you feeling small and like you have no options to stand up for yourself, the opposite is true. Since the conduct is unlawful, you can take action against the person who harassed you and protect your rights.
Your first step after harassment should be to tell the person that their conduct was unwelcome and needs to stop. The best way to stop the wrongful treatment from continuing or escalating is to shut it down early by expressing it’s unwanted and reporting the treatment to your manager or supervisor.
If that doesn’t change anything, though, you should report the harassment to the EEOC through filing a Charge of Discrimination. This is necessary before you can file a job discrimination lawsuit, and you have a time limit of 180 from the event of discrimination to file your Charge of Discrimination. The charge will require the EEOC to investigate what happened and determine your best course of action.
If you’re unsure if the action qualifies as workplace harassment, you can speak with an EEO counselor who will be able to tell you what your best options are moving forward.
Our Firm Is Here for You
Nobody deserves to experience harassment of any kind. That’s why we’re here to stand up for your rights and protect you against workplace harassment. Our employment lawyer from DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC can represent you in your claim and ensure that the situation is fully investigated.
Having us by your side every step of the way will give you the peace of mind that you need while dealing with filing a charge of discrimination or taking other legal action against your harasser. We know that you’re likely feeling vulnerable, which is why we’re here to help. Reach out to our office today so that we can get started with your claim as soon as possible.