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4 types of harassment you could face in the workplace

Many California residents start their jobs looking forward to the experience and new opportunities they will gain. You may have landed a job that you thought would bring you challenges and enjoyment, but what you may not have expected was mistreatment in the workplace.

Unfortunately, workplace harassment is a serious issue that can affect workers who have been in the same job for years or who may have just started a new position. It can come about for a number of reasons, and the effects can be detrimental to you as a victim. Still, before reporting any incidents, you may wonder whether what you are facing is actually harassment.

What constitutes harassment?

Harassment at work can come in many forms. A co-worker, supervisor, manager or another person associated with the company could carry out actions that make you feel uncomfortable and that may fall into the category of harassment if it persists. Some types of harassment include the following:

  • Psychological harassment: If someone purposely withholds information from you, takes credit for work that you did, gives you unreasonable deadlines, forces you to perform demeaning tasks or makes impossible demands, that individual may be subjecting you to psychological harassment.
  • Physical harassment: Shoving, kicking, blocking or other unwanted touching could count as physical harassment. In some cases, an aggressor may try to play off such actions as a joke if there is no harm, but if it persists, it may be harassment.
  • Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment can include types of unwanted physical touching, but it can also include sending sexual messages, making sexual jokes at your expense, demanding sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or sharing pornography in the workplace.
  • Verbal harassment: This type of harassment can involve the use of racial slurs or other derogatory words, demeaning remarks, discriminatory gestures and comments, and unreasonable criticism. This is another type of harassment that some people may try to play off as jokes.

If you feel that you are being harassed at work, you may want to review your company's policies for filing complaints about such actions. If the human resources department or other applicable parties do not handle your complaints in an appropriate manner, you may have reason to take further action. It may benefit you to contact an employment law attorney who can help you assess your circumstances and understand your legal options.

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