What is Workplace Harassment

What constitutes workplace harassment?

Workplace harassment can occur when a person at the workplace behaves in a way that is likely to cause discomfort and distress to another party, resulting in an unfavourable work environment for him or her. Acts of harassment may also have the greater effect of affecting the morale and productivity of the organisation.

Workplace harassment can take different forms, including (but not limited to)

  • Threatening, abusive, or insulting language
  • comments or other non-verbal gestures
  • Cyber bullying
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking

This can take place through different modes of communication, including

  • Verbal
  • Telephone calls
  • Written
  • Emails & SMS
  • Websites
  • Conduct (e.g. vandalism, stalking)
  • Social Media

Harassment can come from various sources:

  • Co-workers
  • Managers
  • Other people at the workplace (customers, contractors, interns and volunteers)

An example of workplace harassment provided within the Protection from Harassment Act:

There are two co-workers in a workplace named X and Y: X loudly and graphically describes X’s desire to have a sexual relationship with Y to other co-workers in an insulting manner, while knowing that Y can hear this and intending to cause Y distress. If Y does in fact feel distressed, X has committed an offence.

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