View Our Practice Areas

Common types of workplace harassment

Sexual harassment is not the only type of harassment that is illegal in the workplace. Harassing comments or actions that are based on disability, religion, race or gender are also prohibited by law.

However, not all offensive behavior and communication rises to the level of "harassment." So, what constitutes workplace harassment?

Defining workplace harassment

According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), workplace harassment involves unwelcome words or actions that are based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or pregnancy that are so severe as to create a "hostile work environment." Common actions that qualify as harassment include offensive or sexual jokes, racial slurs, sexual advances and ridicule.

Sexual harassment is illegal

Sexual harassment is one of the most common types of workplace harassment. While sexual touching and sexual propositions are blatant examples of sexual harassment, more subtle forms also exist.

Showing coworkers sexually charged images, telling sexual jokes, sending sexually inappropriate email or text messages, and overly flirtatious behavior are also examples of sexual harassment.

Beyond sexual harassment

Harassment is not always sexual in nature. As stated above, actions or communications involving any "protected class" are illegal. This includes jokes, slurs, put-downs, mockery, pictures or other actions involving:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Religion
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Pregnancy

Your rights as a worker

It's important to remember, harassment in any form is illegal. Employers with more than 15 workers must provide ongoing training to prevent the occurrence of harassment and take action to stop reported harassment.

Employers must also have processes in place to investigate any claims so they can deal with offenders in accordance with the law. Employers who become aware of harassment going on and do nothing to discourage it may be held liable for violating their victimized workers' rights, including being subject to fines, sanctions and other penalties.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Koller Law, LLC
2043 Locust Street, Suite 1B
Philadelphia, PA 19103

Phone: 215-545-8917
Fax: 215-575-0826
Philadelphia Law Office Map

Call today to request a consultation - 215-545-8917