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Harrassment

Forms of Harrassment

Harassment includes insensitive, offensive or derogatory conduct, intimidation, or pressure.  Harassment can be verbal, physical (even suggestive in nature) and visual.  Harassment occurs where an individual reasonably feels uncomfortable, intimidated, humiliated or mentally distressed by such conduct.  Unlawful harassment in the workplace includes harassment based on Sex/Gender, Race, National Origin, Religion, and Disability.

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their sex/gender.  This type of discrimination can take the form of sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment often includes requests for sexual favors, known as quid pro quo, but can also include offensive remarks or jokes.  Derogatory comments aimed at one gender or adherence to offensive stereotypes about one gender may also constitute sexual harassment. 

Sexual harassment can be worse if the harasser is a person of supervisory authority or when an employer does not have a dedicated human resources department.  Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees who make formal, good faith reports of sexual harassment.  Employees should not fear reporting sexual harassment even if their harasser is a person of power within the company.  If you are experiencing or have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace, call us today. 

It is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees based on their race and/or national origin, including harassment based on those protected characteristics.  Harassment based on race and/or national origin includes jokes or comments about harmful stereotypes, offensive remarks about an employee’s skin color, accent, or family heritage.  Harassers target people of all races and national origins, but here has been a recent increase in harassment targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community following the Pandemic.  If you are experiencing harassment at work based on your race or national origin, call and speak to an experienced member of our team. 

A hostile work environment occurs where harassment in the workplace becomes so severe and pervasive that a reasonable person would find the environment intimidating, hostile or abusive or when the harassment becomes a condition of your continued employment.  Isolated incidents do not usually rise to the level of a hostile work environment.  Constant ridicule, mockery, offensive remarks, jokes, and verbal abuse are common examples of severe and pervasive harassment.  Anyone may be impacted by the hostile work environment, even if the harassment is not directed toward them specifically.  Employees should take advantage of any avenue to report the harassment including an employee assistance hotline, human resources department, or good faith report to a supervisor.  If you believe you have been subjected to a hostile work environment or if you suffered retaliation for reporting a hostile work environment, call our firm. 

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Contact Hennessy Law for your harrassment claims.