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work place harassment

Workplace Harassment- A Story of Every Third Woman

Being a female, it’s not easy for me to write on such a sensitive subject especially in a culture where most of the females feel uncomfortable and hesitated to come forward and share their stories; because most of them are more concerned about cultural stereotypes and have fears of being labeled ‘deceitful or overly sensitive’.

1 In 3 Women Has Experienced Workplace Harassment, According to Survey!

People wonder whether she has fabricated a story to sabotage the position of her coworker or just overreacting to a friendly compliment.

But on the other side, she is experiencing a psychological and emotional trauma nobody can ever imagine. This trauma leaves her struggling with a never-ending state of anxiety and upsetting emotions.

Workplace harassment has been an ongoing issue for decades when businesses first began, and males rule the workforce. It’s not just women of course, victims can be both, men and women. But on a serious note, females are 5 times more likely to be harassed than males, which is definitely a big point of concern.

An amendment was introduced in the National Assembly bill 2010, which says that with regards to workplace harassment, employers are responsible to provide strong protection to a wide array of employees without any gender discrimination. It’s important to incorporate these policies and in case of violation, serious actions should be taken to reduce the toxic and unproductive work culture.

Make sure you have zero tolerance written in your policy.

Common types of harassment:

There are numerous types of workplace harassment and interpretations that even some most efficient professionals could miss the signs:

Sexual harassment:

Sexual harassment is the most common type which has been prevailing tremendously and described as unwanted and inappropriate sexual behavior or conduct. Sexual harassment typically brings discomfort and have a lot of negative impacts on a victim’s life. It includes sharing sexual photos, making sexual jokes or comments, inappropriate touching, inappropriate sexual gestures and invading personal space.

This is the most serious type to consider, as, on November 1, 2018, the hashtag #MeToo movement ushered in the strong public conversation about sexual harassment in the workplace. There were more than 20,000 Google employees who walked out of their offices worldwide to protect the company’s mishandling about sexual harassment cases.

Power harassment:

Power harassment is another form of most frequent harassment in the workplace which is generally characterized by the power disparity between the victim and the harasser.

The harasser tends to dominate and exercise his powers by bullying other employees who are lower in the rank or office hierarchy.

Mental and verbal harassment:

Mental and verbal harassment is such a dangerous form of harassment which makes the victim mentally drained and he starts to develop suicidal thoughts. It ranges from racist jokes to humiliating comments, and threats like “sleep with me or you’re terminated.”

This is extremely unacceptable for both males and females and can take a heavy psychological toll, which leaves the target intimidated and he fails to concentrate on anything.

Physical harassment:

Physical harassment is also called workplace violence. This type of harassment mainly involves dangerous threats and physical violence. In some extreme situations, it is also referred to as assaultive behavior.

Physical gestures involve abusing or playful shoving which makes the person uncomfortable and he couldn’t find a way to deal with it.

Retaliation harassment:

Retaliation harassment is the most overlooked form of harassment in which the harasser finds out that the victim has filed complaints, and then he harasses him to NOT take any more actions otherwise he will be responsible for worst consequences.

What should be the punishments for workplace harassment?

To overcome the situation and preventing it to happen again, every workplace should consider making some laws and document the punishment for the harasser.

The punishments should involve:

  • Demotion or transfer:

Depending upon the severity of the case, management should take some serious steps against the offender. They should consider about his demotion, transfer, counseling, probation, continuous monitoring, warnings, or document the whole situation in his file permanently so he could refrain from doing it again.

  • Termination:

Termination is a logical punishment for the offenders who are convicted of sexual harassment, retaliation harassment or involved in violence-related cases.

  • Jail time:

Harassment is considered to be a criminal charge. And if the victim files criminal charges, then the harasser could face jail time depending upon the severity of the case. The duration of jail time could vary in different states and also depend upon whether this harassment was just a misdemeanor or a felony.

I believe a strong woman stands up for herself, and a stronger woman stands up for the whole community. But unfortunately, changing the national culture of workplace harassment is getting difficult and uncontrolled day by day; because most of the cases go unreported and half of the allegations result in no charge.

We are responsible to create a fair culture where equality and safe reporting is not a dream, but the right of every employee. Because if we create a culture where women feel safe and protected, we can simply put the blame where it belongs and make him feel guilty instead of staying quiet due to fears of being unheard.