How to Handle Harassment at Work

Know Your Rights When It Comes to Harassment on the Job

There are a variety of ways that employees can be harassed at work. Sexual harassment is one of the primary forms, but there are also non-sexual types of harassment that can occur on the job.

It's important to understand harassment in the workplace, because it can affect you, and impact your career, in different ways. Knowing what constitutes harassment will help you know how to handle it if it happens to you, or, even better, help you prevent it from happening. It includes recognizing what harassment is, how to file a harassment claim, and what to do if you lose your job because of it.

Here's an overview of different types of workplace harassment, examples of harassment, and how to handle it if it happens to you.

Types of Harassment

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There are many types of harassment that can occur on the job. Workplace harassment, whether it be verbal or physical, based on sex, religion, or race, is unlawful and a form of discrimination.

The definition of harassment can vary from state to state. A Florida court deemed "fat jokes" offensive and in Wisconsin and New York, harassment based on your criminal record is illegal. The issue of defining harassment is can be a tricky subject.  More

Sexual Harassment

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Sexual harassment in the workplace includes any uninvited comments, conduct, or behavior regarding sex, gender, or sexual orientation. It is also a form of discrimination

Sexual harassment does not have to occur between co-workers of the opposite sex and is not limited to touching or spoken words. Obscene images and videos, emails and even staring in a suggestive manner can be deemed offensive. More

Non-Sexual Harassment

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Harassment in the workplace and in hiring isn't limited to sexual harassment. Other actions regarding religion, race, age, gender, or skin color, for example, can also be considered harassment if they interfere with an employee's success or conjure a hostile work environment.

Non-sexual harassment can include offensive language regarding a person's physical or mental disabilities or differences as well. Pointing out or continually alluding that someone's too fat, too old, or too stupid can be deemed as harassment. Creating a hostile work environment is considered harassment. More

How to File a Harassment Claim

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If you feel like you've been a victim of workplace harassment, it is important to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Before you file the claim, educate yourself to ensure that the incident actually counts as harassment.

For various reasons, there are many false claims of harassment and it is important to know the facts and correct steps needed to file a claim. This will help a legitimate case proceed and find an appropriate ending that you're comfortable with. More

How to Handle Illegal or Inappropriate Interview Questions

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Did you know that there are questions that an interviewer cannot legally ask you when applying for a job? Questions about race, gender, religion, and other personal aspects of your life are prohibited by both state and federal laws.

To protect yourself from potential harassment, it is important that you understand these illegal or inappropriate inquiries while searching for a job. It may not only be against the law but can be a key sign that the company is not a good fit for you. More

How to Resign From Your Job

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Even if you're being harassed, it's important to resign as professionally as you can from your job. Plan your resignation carefully because it could have legal consequences if you file a harassment claim. 

You will need to give adequate notice to your employer, write a formal resignation letter, and be prepared to move on prior to submitting your resignation. With these steps in place, you will set yourself up for success and make it easier move beyond this troubling time. More

How to Handle a Lay-Off

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What's the best way to survive a layoff? The most important thing you can do is find out about any benefits you are entitled to, and that is as simple as checking with the company you work for.

You should also be informed about your employee rights, so you know where you stand when you lose your job. It is equally important to have a plan in place because, as too many people know, job security is not a sure thing. More

What to Do When You're Fired

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Did your harassment claim lead you to be fired from your job? It can be very stressful, and you probably have a lot of questions about what you should or can do next.

First of all, it is important to understand employee rights when you are fired or think you will be let go. If you are wrongfully discharged, you will need to take certain steps to find out what remedies or recourse may be available to you as well. More

Be Prepared to Answer Interview Questions

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If you have left or lost your job because of harassment, be prepared to answer questions about it. Take the time to review the common interview questions you will most likely be asked regarding your last job and why you left.

If you approach the subject appropriately, it will look better in the eyes of the interviewer. Questions about harassment, and why you left your job, are some of the most difficult, but learning how others would answer them can be of great help. More