The workplace should be a safe space for employees where they feel comfortable working with their colleagues and managers. There is no place for harassment or discrimination of any kind at a business, and leadership should establish policies and guidelines to prevent it from being an issue in the first place. However, if you feel that harassment or discrimination may be present at your job, you can take steps to identify it and act. 

Blackstone Law is a team of award-winning employment lawyers. Our experienced legal team has helped many workplace harassment or discrimination victims get justice for the hardships they have suffered due to this abuse. 

What Is Unlawful Workplace Harassment and Discrimination?

Workplace harassment is verbal or physical conduct that shows hostility or aversion toward another employee. Harassment is considered unlawful at the workplace when the focus of the harassment is targeting the victim’s race, skin color, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability. A person committing unlawful discrimination may try to create a hostile work environment for the victim, interfere with their work, or adversely affect their employment opportunities. Some examples of unlawful workplace harassment conduct include:

  • Slurs
  • Negative stereotyping
  • Jokes or pranks that are hostile or demeaning
  • Hostile or intimidating acts relating to any protected groups
  • Written or graphic material that is derogatory or hostile toward an individual or group

While all reports of workplace harassment should be handled objectively by superiors, the victim’s subjective perception is still important to consider. Additionally, for the harassment to be considered unlawful, the harassed employee must consider the workplace hostile. 

Workplace discrimination is similar to harassment, the difference being the hostile acts are expressed through official employment actions, such as only assigning difficult clients to the individual. 

Understand the Types of Workplace Harassment and Discrimination

Now that you understand the difference between harassment and discrimination, another step in identifying harassment or discrimination in the workplace is knowing the different types. 

  • Physical: Violence toward a person, physically or to their property
  • Personal: More commonly known as workplace bullying
  • Psychological: When an individual is continually put down or made to listen to derogatory remarks about themselves
  • Cyberbullying: When discrimination or harassment is taken out against an individual online through emails, text messages, or social media posts
  • Sexual: When the abuser behaves romantically or sexually toward the unwilling or nonconsenting victim

All forms of harassment or discrimination in the workplace should be forbidden and handled accordingly by the human resources department or superiors of the business. 

How to Handle and Prevent Workplace Harassment or Discrimination

The best way to prevent harassment or discrimination from occurring is to have policies and procedures in place to educate employees on why harassment and discrimination is wrong and to send a clear message that it will not be tolerated. Some preventative measures an employer may take as a business are:

  • Require each new employee to partake in harassment and discrimination training 
  • Detail policies and procedures in the employee handbook and require all employees to read it
  • Update policies and procedures as changes occur
  • Have an open-door policy with employees so they feel comfortable discussing their concerns with the human resources department
  • Make it known to employees that all cases of harassment or discrimination will be handled seriously and result in repercussions 

To handle any complaints of harassment or discrimination, an employer should make it clear that each complaint will be taken seriously and investigated. An employer should consider enacting a zero-tolerance policy for employees if complaints are found to be supported by evidence. 

Partner with Leading Workplace Harassment and Discrimination Lawyers

No one should feel scared or anxious about going to work due to harassment or discrimination. Considering the fact that the average person will spend 90,000 hours of their life at work, work should be a safe and enjoyable space for employees to foster creativity and grow their careers. If you have been a victim of harassment or discrimination at work and your superiors have not taken your report seriously, you may want to consider getting in touch with an experienced employment lawyer.

Blackstone Law is the leading Los Angeles employment lawyer, helping workplace harassment or discrimination victims seek justice. Our award-winning legal team offers our clients aggressive and persistent representation when it comes to defending their right to a safe workplace. For a free case evaluation, contact us here or call (310) 956-4054.