Do You Need a Workplace Harassment Lawyer? Part 1 of the Facts – Hershey Law

Harassment in the workplace isn’t always easy to define as it can take various shapes. With such variances, victims of workplace harassment are left uncomfortable but unsure as to whether what they are feeling qualifies as harassment or if they are overreacting. Because of this, many workplace harassment cases are not reported. In this two-part article, our expert harassment lawyer at Hershey Law is delving in to provide you with the facts. 


Let’s start by presenting the staggering statistic that one in four people will be harassed at work at some time during their life.


Harassment is a type of tension and stress at work that creates a toxic environment for victims and innocent bystanders. Workplace harassment takes someone’s livelihood, and sometimes even their dream job, and turns it into a nightmare in which they have to choose between their sanity, self-respect, and a paycheck.


Although the recent “Me Too” movement brought workplace sexual harassment into the spotlight, making employers step up and revamp their outdated harassment policies, harassment in the workplace is not always sexual. It can consist of things like bullying, intimidating, or threatening behaviors that can be explicit or implicit.


Victims of workplace harassment need to recognize what it looks like and know how to handle it through the proper procedures. People also need to be aware of their rights if going through the so-called correct channels does not get the necessary results to stop the harassment.


Here are the facts on workplace harassment and why you should never feel alone if you are going through it yourself.


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The Harsh Facts on Workplace Harassment – It’s a Global Epidemic

Although we in the United States tend to associate victimization of harassment in the workplace with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the truth is that workplace harassment is not isolated just to our country. This harassment happens all over the world. Depending on the location, countries have different policies, procedures, and laws about handling this discrimination.


Because it is so globalized and widespread, people can’t continue to ignore the problem. The Me Too movement went viral specifically because so many people globally identified with sexual harassment. In the U.K. alone over 52% of women claim they were harassed at work. 


However, in the United States, cultural norms make admitting to workplace harassment, or even knowing that the actions you are experiencing are harassment, a difficult thing. The U.S. is a virtual melting pot of unique cultures, ethnicities, races, and religions, making it hard to define a “norm” in some places. Instead of this being a good thing where everyone fits in, it makes so many people feel that they stand out in an uncomfortable way. People are ashamed of being victimized and prefer to deal with the harassment or quit their jobs rather than approach the harasser and stand up for themselves.


On average, out of one in five people who report workplace harassment, 80% say nothing changed after their report was made. The remaining majority say their situation worsened through retaliation. 


This has to change, and the more people turn to workplace harassment attorneys who care, like Hershey Law, to help them stand up for their rights, the more we can change those statistics around.


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What Does Workplace Harassment Look Like?

It’s imperative that every person understand what the term workplace harassment encompasses to feel comfortable moving forward in protecting their rights. Simply stated, workplace harassment is any discrimination on the job. It violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and many other state and federal regulations. 


Workplace harassment is taken very seriously by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). If you are a victim of it and follow the proper protocols, it can become a lawsuit. Don’t be afraid to work with a harassment lawyer to protect your rights, not be discriminated against, and have security and stability in your environment at work.

Harassment on the job is most commonly thought of as sexual in nature, but it goes further beyond this. There are multiple types of discrimination and other forms of harassment that make a work environment turn hostile, toxic, and fearful.


Discrimination alone can be experienced in many forms, such as:

  • Racial harassment is when a person is harassed because of their race, skin color, ancestry, or citizenship. This is commonly seen in racial insults, jokes, slurs, degrading comments, or intolerance.
  • Gender harassment is when a person’s gender causes another person to treat them inferiorly. This often has a basis in negative gender stereotypes about how people of a specific gender are supposed to act.
  • Religious harassment in which someone’s religious beliefs are different from the cultural norm of the company. This manifests in the form of intolerance towards the other person’s religious holidays, customs, and traditions. Often, the victim is pressured to convert to the “normal” religion and is the target of harsh jokes or degrading comments.
  • Harassment due to disabilities occurs when someone who has a disability or knows someone with a disability is teased or accommodations are not made for them. This also pertains to a person who uses their sick leave and is harassed for that.
  • Harassment due to sexual orientation used to be an unfortunately accepted practice but is now illegal. People of differing sexual orientations are free from harassment of their differences.
  • Age-based harassment is becoming more common as technology often edges out older generations who did not grow up with it but is required for most jobs. Because of a person’s age and the associated stereotypes, it is often assumed that people of a certain age can’t do the work necessary. This harassment is illegal.


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Of course, there are other kinds of harassment as well. For instance, personal harassment happens in the workplace when someone makes inappropriate comments to a person or attempts to humiliate them. It also happens when someone is overly critical or tries to intimidate the victim, creating a hostile work environment. 


There is also something called power harassment, in which the person with authority over the victim attempts to intimidate them, demean them, or make demands that are not possible. Power harassment can be psychological or physical.


Physical harassment is its own category, though. Referred to as workplace violence, it involves any harassing behaviors that contain physical threats or outright attacks. Workplace violence can also be considered assault if the behavior is extreme enough. Behaviors may include direct threats, hitting or shoving, or destruction of property, for example.


Workplace harassment doesn’t end here, however. If you feel that you have been a victim of any form of workplace harassment in California and it has not stopped after you addressed the issue, call Hershey Law today. As the number one harassment lawyer in Southern California, you can have confidence that your case will be thoroughly examined and brought to justice.


Be sure to check in later in the month, as our next article will continue with a more in-depth discussion of workplace harassment.