In recent years, people have come to associate harassment with misconduct in the workplace. However, this unacceptable behavior can take many forms and occur in various settings.
Therefore, it’s important to know when and where harassment can take place and what your options are if you find yourself in such a troubling situation.
The Many Forms of Harassment
Harassment is an unwelcome behavior that intimidates, offends, or creates a hostile environment. It can be deeply damaging to the person experiencing it. Here are some common forms:
This is one of the most widely recognized forms of harassment. It involves any unwanted sexual advances or obscene remarks, which can range from inappropriate comments to physical assault. It often occurs in a situation where the harasser is in a position of power over the victim.
This type of harassment occurs when an employee is subjected to unwelcome conduct from a colleague. It may include bullying, unfair treatment, or offensive jokes. It can lead to a hostile and toxic work environment and may significantly affect an individual’s job performance and mental health. While workplace harassment can be towards anyone, it is prevalent among women from marginalized races and ethnicities.
With the rise of digital communication, online harassment has become increasingly prevalent. It can include cyberbullying, stalking, doxxing (publicly revealing private information), and trolling.
Racial harassment targets individuals based on their race or ethnicity. It can involve racial slurs, derogatory comments, or acts of violence. It serves to demean, belittle, or intimidate individuals because of their racial background. Sometimes, global events can increase harassment towards a particular race, such as the proliferation of hate crimes against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This involves unwanted and obsessive attention by an individual toward another person. Stalking behaviors can include following the victim, appearing at their home or place of work, making harassing phone calls, leaving written messages or objects, or vandalizing the victim’s property.
Harassment can be a traumatic and distressing experience, but it’s vital to know there are options available. The first step is acknowledging the situation and understanding that it’s not your fault.
Keep a detailed record of each incident, including the date, time, location, people involved, and what was said and done. If possible, save emails, texts, social media posts, or any other form of communication as evidence.
If harassment occurs in the workplace, you will need to report it to a supervisor or the human resources department.
In California, harassment can be either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on its form. Therefore, if the harassment continues or involves physical assault or threats, you need to reach out for legal advice. Our attorneys at Lonich Patton Ehrlich Policastri can review your situation and provide you with the help you need. We have extensive experience in protecting our clients from the many forms harassment can take and guide you through the process of obtaining a protective or restraining order.
Disclaimer: this article does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter.