Although it frequently occurs, workplace harassment is seldom discussed openly in most workplaces. An abusive and toxic workplace results from workplace harassment. Because so many people are unsure of what constitutes workplace harassment, the majority of incidents go unreported.

We’ve all experienced toxic work conditions, which lead to a high employee turnover rate. But have we ever questioned why? Why do certain employees appear in lone incidents? Could it be that they are bothered by harassment of any kind?

Any organization’s resources—yes, we’re talking about the staff—are the secret to its success. Your company’s productivity, employee relations, and reputation in the business community can all suffer from an unsettling and unpleasant work environment. Hence, upholding decorum and adopting a policy of zero tolerance for harassment are essential for the expansion of any firm.

What is Workplace Harassment?

When an employee or group of employees feels threatened or denigrated by their coworkers, workplace harassment has taken place. A workplace harasser’s only goal is to make their victims feel uneasy and dangerous.

Offensive jokes, slurs, epithets, or name-calling, physical threats or attacks, intimidation, mockery or derision, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or images, and interference with work performance are all examples of harassment.

Moreover, harassment happens in a range of situations, including the following:  

There are several labels for workplace harassment, including “workplace bullying,” “mobbing,” “workplace hostility,” etc.

Harassment includes many forms of discrimination and infringement that are not limited to one group. Targeting several groups, such as women, racial and sexual minorities, immigrants, individuals with disabilities, and women, constitutes harassment. Essentially, workplace harassment calls for a pluralistic system since it defies a clear-cut definition.

Physical evidence of workplace harassment may or may not exist. When bringing up the situation with the HR department, it can be helpful to understand what is happening to you.

Types of Harassment

Workplace harassment can take many different forms, including psychological, emotional, verbal, physical, and favoritism for sexual activity. The top five forms of workplace harassment are as follows:

Verbal harassment

The constant war of devastation that verbal abuse can endanger both your job and health. It comprises of insulting comments, rude body language, and irrational criticism. It may include epithets, slurs, offensive jokes, and cruel remarks.

Since this is a non-physical type of violence, it can be difficult to identify because it typically involves insults like body and fat shaming jokes, cruel remarks, and unwelcome taunting. HR managers and leaders must be watchful to spot such harassing activities because it is a murky area.

Psychological harassment

While psychological harassment is somewhat similar to verbal harassment, it is more subtle and uses techniques like information withholding. The likelihood of victims of such harassment experiencing mental breakdowns, low self-esteem, and a propensity to undermine themselves is higher.

Forcing someone to work outside the boundaries of their job responsibilities, making demands that are unreasonable or difficult to meet, claiming credit for others’ accomplishments, etc. are all examples of psychological harassment. This represents a type of intentional psychological bullying.


The most recent type of harassment is cyberbullying or digital harassment. Even when it takes place online, cyberbullying is just as offensive.

Social media usage is now standard practice in all workplaces. So, anyone can cyberbully anyone in the name of free expression. Fake personas can be created by individuals to humiliate or harass their coworkers. The good news about online harassment is that those who are harassed may report it. A victim of such harassment and discrimination might keep track of the episodes through screenshots, preserved emails, etc.

By doing this, those who have experienced workplace harassment can readily report these unpleasant actions.

Sexual harassment

It’s a terrible crime, yet professional sexual harassment happens more frequently than you may imagine. That is a crime that does not simply apply to women. Any person, regardless of gender, has the potential to engage in sexual harassment.

According to ZipRecruiter survey – 14% of males and 40% of women who responded reported having experienced sexual harassment at work.

Sexual harassment can be identified by unwanted contact, offensive texts and films, requests for sexual favors, and remarks that include crude gestures.

Physical harassment

There are several levels of physical harassment at work. Inappropriate touching of the skin or clothing, physical attacks, threats, or property damage are examples of this type of harassment. Individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+ or who are members of gender minorities are more likely to experience this type of harassment at work. It can be challenging to distinguish between physical harassment and other types of abuse when perpetrators downplay some harassment in the form of jokes that don’t cause bodily pain.

It may nonetheless qualify as physical harassment even if no serious physical injury results. Employees are required to report any instances of violence and take stern measures against the violators.


Every company has a human resources department, which is there to assist staff members who require assistance in urgent circumstances. Good HR practices safeguard their safety and job security whether they feel uneasy or in danger or are threatened by a coworker.

Since the majority of complaints or harassing behaviors lack tangible evidence, a victim must nonetheless file a formal complaint. While many larger firms have rigorous anti-harassment rules in place, some smaller ones might lack them. We encourage staff members to do the following actions, especially leaders and HR managers:


A wholesome, upbeat, and harassment-free workplace reduces toxicity, fosters employee engagement, and boosts output. Hence, you must ensure that no one is subjected to harassment or discrimination at work. We really hope that this blog has helped you understand and identify workplace harassment.

BTS supports a healthy environment and encourages all its clients and employees to do their best in maintaining a safe environment!

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