I Am Experiencing Pervasive Harassment in the Office. What Can I Do?
No one should be harassed in the workplace, but there are situations where people feel harassed whether it is sexually, racially, gender based, or physical harassment. There are legal protections in place to help employees escape harassing activities. If you are the victim of pervasive harassment it may be time to take legal action to restore your safety at your workplace.
What is Pervasive Harassment?
Harassment in the workplace is illegal, but it becomes legally actionable if it is either severe or pervasive, or when the offensive conduct becomes a part of employment “requirements”. In a nutshell, this means when you are threatened with losing your job unless you agree to something that is not part of your work requirements or if you are harassed severely/ on a regular basis.
Pervasive harassment in particular pertains to being harassed on a regular basis. Something small may not be lawfully actionable even if unprofessional such as the use of a racial slur on only one occasion. However, if racial slurs are used on a regular basis despite requests to stop, then it becomes actionable pervasive harassment. Pervasive harassment refers to harassing acts that continue and make the workplace a “hostile environment”.
Although there is not a textbook answer for how much harassment is too much, the definition usually relies on the creation of a hostile workplace environment. Therefore, if the harassment makes an employee feel uncomfortable, at risk, or threatens their safety there is a good chance it can be defined as pervasive.
What to Do If You are the Victim of Pervasive Harassment?
If you are the victim of pervasive harassment it is important to document each occasion that you are harassed. Report each incident to your supervisor or HR department and then log it in your own record. Continue to do this from the first day you feel uncomfortable. If you reach out to management or talk to your harasser and request that they stop harassing you log this event as well.
If the harassment continues and your employer or supervisor does not make any chances to remedy the situation or bring any consequences against the offender, it may be time to look into taking legal action. Pervasive harassment isn’t to be tolerated and you could be entitled to monetary compensation if a hostile work environment is permitted to continue. We have a long history working with clients who find themselves the victims of pervasive harassment. Our focused sexual harassment attorneys would be happy to help you get out your hostile work environment. Give us a call today to learn about options that will end the harassment once and for all.