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What constitutes harassment?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2017 | Employment Litigation

Employers in Houston must be vigilant about preventing harassment for the good of their workers as well as their businesses. However, instances of harassment are not always cut and dry. In some cases, seemingly minor incidents can become huge legal hassles if not handled appropriately. To this end, it’s important for you to know exactly what constitutes harassment so that you can react accordingly.

As illustrated by The Balance.com, workplace harassment comes in many forms. It can even be present during the initial interview if the interviewer chooses to ask candidates inappropriate questions. This can include queries related to marital status, race, religion and many others. Doing so violates the law, and could result in legal reprisal if the candidate decides to file suit.

There is also the matter of sexual harassment, which is a huge concern. Sexual harassment is more than unwanted romantic advances; in fact, it can also include things like jokes or off-color remarks. These incidents create a hostile workplace for employees, and can easily lead to lawsuits. Additionally, anyone can report sexual harassment that witnesses it occurring. Even if the victim is not offended, bystanders can still be made uncomfortable.

Other types of harassment may focus on personal aspects of an employee’s life. Comments or jokes about one’s skin color are just one example, as is coining nicknames that can be construed as racist in some way. Age-related slurs are also prohibited, as well as any gestures deemed offensive or derogatory. Of course, there are many more examples of harassment in the workplace. Typically, the bottom line is how an employee or manager’s conduct makes other workers feel and whether it contributes to a hostile environment.


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