Workplace harassment is extremely serious – and if it’s happening to you but your employer refuses to do anything about it, you could have grounds for a lawsuit.
But what does workplace harassment look like? Check out these examples to find out.
Workplace Harassment Examples
There are many types of workplace harassment, including discrimination, personal harassment, sexual harassment and more. This is what they look like in action.
Discrimination in the Workplace Harassment Examples
All harassment in the workplace is discriminatory, but this type of harassment involves a victim who’s part of a protected class, such as:
- Age harassment
- Disability harassment
- Gender harassment, including pregnancy discrimination
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
Example 1: Racial Jokes, Insults and Slurs
People in the workplace make jokes that involve stereotypes on race, or use racial slurs and insult people belonging to a certain race.
Example 2: Negative Gender Stereotypes
A woman displays posters or photos that are degrading to men in her cubicle, or a male nurse is harassed for having a “woman’s job.”
Example 3: Religious Harassment
A coworker or your boss exerts pressure on you to convert to another religion, or people in the workplace crack mean religious jokes, or your boss or coworkers are intolerant toward your religious traditions, customs or holidays.
Example 4: Age-Based Harassment
You may be teased or insulted based on your age, or you’re left out of activities that the rest of your team participates in because you’re older or younger than they are.
Personal Workplace Harassment Examples
Personal harassment is bullying, but it’s not harassment based on a protected class. However, it still exists.
Example 1: Inappropriate Comments, Offensive Jokes and Humiliation
A person you work with makes off-color jokes that make you uncomfortable or makes comments that are completely inappropriate, or tries to humiliate you personally to create an intimidating work environment.
Example 2: Criticism and Intimidation
Your boss or a coworker criticizes you incessantly, shuts you out of group activities or otherwise excludes you, or tries to intimidate you by making you feel small or unimportant.
Sexual Harassment Examples in the Workplace
There are two types of sexual harassment: quid pro quo and hostile work environment. Quid pro quo harassment is “this for that,” which means someone in a position to provide rewards or negative consequences is usually the perpetrator. Hostile work environment sexual harassment is harassment that’s so severe or pervasive that you cannot perform your job properly.
Both are illegal.
Example 1: Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Your boss tells you that if you’ll go on a date with her, she can help you get promoted, or a good performance review hinges on you accepting or reciprocating sexual gestures from your boss.
Example 2: Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment
Your boss or coworker invades your personal space repeatedly, makes inappropriate sexual comments or jokes, asks inappropriate sexual questions, or touches you in a sexual way.
Verbal Workplace Harassment Examples
Verbal harassment might happen in front of other people or it can be just between the perpetrator and the victim. It can include things like:
Verbal harassment isn’t illegal on its own, but it is illegal when it’s part of sexual harassment or another type of harassment or discrimination.
Example 1: Cursing and Name-Calling
Your boss or a coworker swears at you and calls you incompetent because of your age, disability, race, religion or other protected category.
Example 2: Mocking and Name Calling
Your boss or a coworker makes fun of you and calls you names based on your membership in a protected class.
Example 3: Threats and Insults
Your boss or a coworker threatens or insults you based on your membership in a protected class.
Related: What is verbal harassment at work?
Do You Need to Talk to a lawyer About Workplace Harassment?
If you need to talk to an attorney about something that’s happened to you, call us right away at 818-659-8324 or 800-774-4163, or get in touch with us online. We’ll evaluate your case and begin developing a strategy that gets you the best possible outcome.