Workplace Harassment

What is workplace harassment? What should I look out for? How do I know if I am being harassed? What are the different forms of workplace harassment? These are some of the common questions that I am asked. Everone should know and understand the answers to these questions.

Harassment is any form of unwanted conduct, related to any of the nine discriminatory grounds (Irish employment legislation)and being conduct which has the purpose of effect of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.

Familiarise yourself with your employment legistlation as the grounds of discrimination may vary. Common examples of different forms of harassment are

  • Harassment of workers with disabilities
  • Harassment on the grounds of age
  • Harassment of Lesbian, Gay or Bisexual workers
  • Racial Harassment
  • Religious Harassment
  • Sexual Harassment

Examples of Different Forms of Harassment

Examples of Racial Harassment include:

  • Refusing to work with someone or deliberately isolating them because of their race, colour, nationality or ethnic origin
  • Displaying racially offensive material
  • Racists jokes, banter, insinuations, insults or taunts

Examples of Harassment of Workers with Disabilities include:

  • Asking intimate questions about an individual’s impairment e.g. how it occurred or what it is like
  • Name calling, jokes, taunts and use of offensive language
  • Assuming that a physical disability means that the person is inferior
  • Assuming that a mental disability means that the individual lacks intelligence
  • Speaking to colleagues rather than the person with the disability

Examples of Religious Harassment

  • Mocking or deriding a person’s religious beliefs
  • Making it unnecessarily difficult for people to conform to their religious beliefs

Examples of Harassment of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual workers include:

  • Jokes and name calling
  • Verbal or physical abuse or intimidation
  • Repeated reference to a person’s sexual orientation
  • Intrusive questioning about their personal or sex life

Examples of Age Harassment include:

  • In recruitment
  • Selection for project teams
  • Promotion

Examples of Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual jokes, stories, suggestive comments, unwelcome comments about dress or appearance
  • Display of offensive pictures,slogans, graffiti, written suggestive materials
  • Asking personal questions

What should you do if you have concerns you have been bullied?

If you have concerns that you have been harassed at work the first step is to discourage it by objecting to it. If this has no effect then inform a manager, workplace representative or HR Manager.

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