West Virginia workplaces must be a welcoming and inclusive environment for all. However, harassment unfortunately still occurs, and problematic behaviors can be sexual or non-sexual in nature. In order to prevent an uncomfortable or hostile working environment, both employees as well as supervisors must know what harassment entails. TheBalance.com offers the following information.
Types of Sexual Harassment
While most people associate sexual harassment with unwanted advances, there are actually many different types of behaviors to be on the lookout for. For instance, questions of a sexual nature (which can be based on a person’s orientation or past history) are not permitted, nor is the sharing of sexually themed materials like pictures or videos. Jokes can also be considered harassment, as can gestures if they’re deemed to be sexual in nature. Unwanted touching may also occur, and this might be accompanied by comments about a person’s body or attire.
Types of Non-Sexual Harassment
Other types of harassment may also be an issue, and these can focus on a person’s race or ethnicity (among many other areas). Drawings or images that are racist/prejudicial can create a hostile environment at work, as can clothing with offensive slogans or logos. Age-related harassment might also be an issue. If an older worker is constantly asked about his or her ability, this can be construed as harassment. It’s also not permitted to speak negatively about a person’s religious beliefs.
What You Can Do
Anyone can file a claim regarding harassment. Even if you’re not the victim of comments or slights, you can still bring it to the attention of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. You should also discuss the matter with your workplace’s human resource department. When doing so, make sure you keep a detailed record of what occurred, when it was reported, and what the response was. This information is crucial if you do end up making a claim.