When you go into work, you shouldn’t have to worry about dealing with offensive or inappropriate comments or behaviors. Unfortunately for some people, their work environments have become intimidating or hostile due to harassment.

Common types of workplace harassment

People from all walks of life face many different types of harassment in their day-to-day jobs. Common types include:

  • Physical harassment
  • Sexual harassment
  • Racism
  • Ageism
  • Harassment based on religion, politics, disability or gender identity

There are many ways a boss or co-worker might display one or more of these forms of harassment. Whether it’s a derogatory comment, an offensive joke, an inappropriate picture, a rude gesture or aggressive behavior, harassment in any form is wrong. Not only does it make you feel helpless, but it’s also against the law.

What can you do?

If you believe you are the victim of workplace harassment, there are steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Directly ask the person to stop
  • Check to see if your company has anti-harassment policies
  • Talk to a supervisor or HR representative
  • Submit a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

If it’s your boss or manager who you’re taking action against and you’re afraid that you might lose your job if you speak out, think again. It is actually illegal to punish employees for complaining or speaking out against harassment and other harmful behavior in the workplace. That means that you cannot lose your job for standing up for yourself or another co-worker.

Don’t hesitate to protect yourself

It can be harmful to your emotional and mental well-being when you experience harassment. Unfortunately, some people are too fearful to speak out against inappropriate workplace behavior for fear of retaliation. Others might be worried about how they will be perceived if they complain. However, it’s important to know that if you’re facing harassment, you have rights.

The sooner you take the necessary measures to protect yourself, the better off you, your co-workers and your work environment will be without the harmful and toxic behaviors of a workplace harasser.