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Harassment Types in Business


There has been the existence of laws related to business harassment that was enacted a long period ago. Employers and managers recognize that it is of paramount importance to reduce risks related to harassment litigation. Despite this, harassment in business still exists and employers are continuously paying huge sums of money to settle employees’ claims related to harassment. This results from the fact that managers and employers lack the necessary skills and knowledge to implement an anti-harassment policy. Harassment refers to any form of verbal or physical insult to an individual. Alternatively, harassment can be defined as any behavior intended to alienate an individual. Managers must understand the various types of harassment in business. This will ensure that all the employees of the firm work in an environment that is non-hostile (‘Harassment won’t be tolerated’ Para. 1).

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Harassment in business can result in a reduction in the productivity of the employees culminating in poor performance of the firm. Various governments both local and state in the US have stipulated laws that prohibit harassment. In most cases, sexual harassment is the most recognized form of harassment in business. However, there are other forms of harassment in business that relate to discrimination based on age, disability, race, political ideology, religion, national origin. The discussion of this paper entails an analysis of the various laws related to the different types of harassment in business.

Race harassment

In the US, various state and federal laws prohibit harassment about skin color. Racial harassment in business occurs in various forms. These include racial insults, offensive comments related to race, and other racial jokes. These laws also prohibit the use of gestures and lewd remarks whose intention is to degrade or threaten an individual. One such law is the Civil Rights Act- Title VII of 1964. This Act protects individuals from all kinds of harassment related to race or color. It also prohibits the use of derogatory terms based on a person’s color or race. According to this Act, such kind of behavior constitutes harassment if it results in an intimidating, hostile working environment or otherwise interferes with an individual’s performance (‘Race harassment’ Para. 1-3).

Based on the stipulation of this Act, an employee has a legal capacity to file his or her complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The objective of filing such a plea is to stop such kind of inappropriate behavior. This mainly occurs if his or her complaints to the senior authority are not acted upon.

Sexual harassment

According to Mann and Roberts, sexual harassment is one of the forms of harassment in business that can result in huge costs for a firm in covering the legal fees, damages, and other related costs. Even though a firm may have an insurance policy that covers financial loss resulting from sexual harassment claims, the damage caused to the employee’s morale and public image of the firm cannot be repaired. Surveys in the US indicate that most firms have not addressed the problem of sexual harassment (Para. 1).

According to Title VII of the Civil Act of 1964, sexual harassment in business refers to any situation in which results in unfair treatment of employees based on their gender. Sexual harassment mainly falls into two main categories. These include quid pro quo harassment and hostile workplace harassment.

Quid pro quo harassment which is contained in Title IX is a form of harassment that mainly occurs when the promotion, job reviews, and other employees’ benefits are based on sexual favors. It also occurs when the authority in the firm withholds benefits that are related to work benefits due to a lack of sexual advances. This type of harassment also includes physical and verbal conduct that is sexual.

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According to the 1963 Equal Pay Act, employers are supposed to pay equal wages and salaries to employees of both genders if they perform the same amount in the same working environment. If employers violate this Act by paying a smaller amount of wages and salaries to the employees due to their refusal to advance to sexual favors, it amounts to sexual harassment (Candida 12).

On the other hand, hostile workplace harassment refers to harassments those results in an employee feeling uncomfortable due to actions or remarks that have got sexual connotations. This also includes different treatment to different genders and displaying pictures that have got sexual orientation. Title VII of the Civil Act of 1964 gives the employees the capacity to sue for any form of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Over the past few years, there has been an expansion of an employer’s liability by the courts ruling in the US about harassment claims. The law requires employers to exercise ‘reasonable care’ in preventing and correcting sexual harassment. Some of how a business can undertake this include firing employee who practices sexual harassment. Firms are also required to train their employees on sexual harassment. This will help in eliminating the impacts of financial loss on the firm. They are also required to take action immediately an employee complains of sexual harassment.

Religious harassment

Various laws prohibit an employer from harassing his or her employees based on their religion. Religious harassment in business refers to any form of physical, verbal, or psychological harassment that is related to an employee’s lack of, specific or his or religious behavior. This includes anti-religious jokes, intention to change others’ religious beliefs, or teasing directed towards an individual employee’s religion (Candida 16).

The source of religious harassment in a business can either be from the supervisor or coworkers. Title VII of the Civil Act of 1964 prohibits business owners, supervisors, or coworkers from harassing employees due to their beliefs. According to Candida, intentions by the employer to change the religious beliefs of individual employees result in a hostile working environment for the employee (16).

Harassment due to disability

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) forbids any form of harassment that is directed to employees of the firm due to their physical challenges. The law stipulates that if an individual employee constantly faces harassment due to his or her disability, he or she has the right to sue the employer and seek compensation for the damages caused (Candida 18).


Harassment in business can cost the firm huge financial cost about compensation for the damages caused. In addition, harassment can also result in the poor financial performance of a firm. This is because harassment results in a reduction in the motivation of the employees and hence their productivity. Harassment in business occurs in various forms. These include racial, sexual, religious, and harassment due to an employee’s physical challenges. Various laws have been stipulated and enacted by both state and federal governments in the US to deal with cases of harassment in business. These include Title VII Act of 1964, Americans with Disabilities Act, and Equal Pay Act.

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Title VII Act of 1964 forbids any form of racial harassment. Race harassment refers to a form of harassment that occurs when an employee is unfairly treated based on his or her race or skin color. It also involves the use of lewd remarks and gestures that are intended to threaten an individual to whom it is directed. It also includes the use of racial jokes and insults. In addition, this Act also prohibits any form of sexual harassment either physically or verbally. Sexual harassment is categorized into two forms. These include quid pro quo harassment which entails tying work rewards and punishment on sexual favors. It also includes being subjected to a hostile working environment due to the use of sexual connotations that may make the employee feel uncomfortable. Employees who are subjected to sexual harassment can sue the employer if their complaints are not addressed.

On the other hand, religious harassment occurs when an individual is psychologically, physically, or verbally harassed due to their religion or lack of religion by either the supervisors or the coworkers. It also occurs when the supervisors try to convert an employee by preaching to them. Employees are protected by Title VII Act of 1964 from any form of religious harassment. In addition, the Americans with Disability Act forbid firms from harassing individuals due to their disability. It also gives individuals who are subjected to this form of harassment the capacity to sue the employer for compensation.

Works cited

Barry, Roberts and Mann, Richard. “Sexual harassment in the workplace: a primer. Web.

Candida, Vince. “Workplace harassment.” Military order Purple Heart. Web.

Employees Rights KIT. “Race harassment.” 2009. Web.

Niel HR Library. “ Make it perfectly clear: harassment won’t be tolerated.” 2007. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Harassment Types in Business'. 9 November.

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