Investigations Of Workplace Harassment, Hostile Work
Investigations Of Workplace Harassment
issues, annoyances, and isolated incidents typically are not considered to
be illegal. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment
that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to a reasonable person.
Workplace Harassment, Hostile Work Environments. An employer can be
held liable for failing to prevent these workplace conditions, unless it
can prove that it attempted to prevent the harassment and that the
employee failed to take advantage of existing harassment counter-measures
or tools provided by the employer.
A hostile work environment may
also be created when management acts in a manner designed to make an
employee quit in retaliation for some action. For example, if an employee
reported safety violations at work, was injured, attempted to join a
union, or reported regulatory violations by management, and management's
response was to harass and pressure the employee to quit.
have tried to force employees to quit by imposing unwarranted discipline,
reducing hours, cutting wages, or transferring the complaining employee to
a distant work location.
The Physical harassment in the workplace takes many forms. Sexual
assault is one form of widely known physical harassment. Sexual
assault in the workplace has gained media and academic attention
majorly in the 90s after a series of famous sex scandals.
Among the most notorious are the sexual assault on female officers at
a party during the 1991 annual convention of Navy fighter pilots; the
dismissal of Air Force pilot Kelly Flinn for adultery in 1997; the
1998 trial and acquittal of the top ranking Army enlisted man on
charges of sexual harassment; and the independent counsel
investigations of President Clinton's sexual affairs with
With this cascade of sex scandals, the media
and scholars have focused on developing more studies on sexual
harassment in workplaces. Sexual assault becomes difficult to define,
as the distinction between sexual harassment and consensus to finely
harassment, emotional harassment is unnoticeable and also viewed as
being more socially acceptable. Naturally, emotional harassment
in the workplace gets less attention than physical harassment in the
workplace, which perpetuates the issue of emotional harassment in the
workplace. According to Keashly, emotional harassment can be defined
as "the hostile verbal and nonverbal behaviors that are not
explicitly tied to sexual or racial content yet are directed at
gaining compliance from others." In short, emotional harassment is
manipulation of people's actions through social behaviors.
common form of emotional abuse in workplace is bullying. Also known
as mobbing, workplace bullying "is a long lasting, escalated conflict
with frequent harassing actions systematically aimed at a target
person." Specific actions of workplace bullying include the
following: false accusations of mistakes and errors, hostile glares
and other intimidating non-verbal behaviors, yelling, shouting, and
screaming, exclusion and the "silent treatment," withholding
resources and information necessary to the job, behind-the-back
sabotage and defamation, use of put-downs, insults, and excessively
harsh criticism, and unreasonably heavy work demands designed to
Investigations Of Workplace Harassment
The Williams Institute 2011 study shows that "In the American
workforce, more than eight million people (or 4 percent of the U.S.
workforce) identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT)."
Even so, the LGBT group has faced constant discrimination and harassment
in workplaces, as shown by court cases and historical events.
Certain organizations, At certain times, have advocated sabotage as a
means of self-defense and direct action against unfair working
One common form of workplace harassment for LGBT
community is the psychological and physical strain in hiding their
sexuality in a heterosexist workplace environment. Other form of
workplace harassment is direct harassment from the public after
disclosing one's sexuality.
Because an LGBT individual
experiences explicit verbal assault, physical violence, and hate crimes
after disclosing sexuality, the LGBT community more often than not
conceals its sexuality in workplaces.
Many studies show
that culturally stigmatized groups face more workplace harassments. With
changes in the political and social scenes in America, subtle and daily
harassment is more common than blatant and explicit harassment
today. A study by Deitch, Barsky, Butz and et al. shows that black
Americans face more mistreatment in workplaces than white Americans.
The mistreatments and harassments do not explicitly "reference race
or discrimination as the cause of the treatment", because overt racism
is prohibited in workplaces. However, the statistics show race is
"significantly associated with mistreatment" and that black Americans in
general report significantly more "minor, pervasive mistreatment and
unfairness on the job." The study suggests the discrimination and
harassments may intensify for Black Americans in a job with fewer people
of the same race, such as "token" Black employee or "solo" employees. In
addition, not only Blacks but also Asian Americans, and other minority
races all face "a higher rate of homicide than their proportion of the
work force would suggest." Of the eighth of the workforce experiencing
homicide, more than a fourth of the population is an ethnic minority.
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