Every North Carolina employee has the right to work in an environment that is free from harassment and inappropriate treatment. When you go to work, you should not experience harassment of any kind, and if you do, you have the right to speak out about it. If you believe that you are experiencing illegal treatment from your employer or other co-workers, you may benefit from an explanation of what types of behaviors are harassment and what you should do next.
Both state and federal laws provide you protection against harassment in the workplace, regardless of your job description or where you work. As a victim, you may have grounds to pursue legal action against your employer or responsible party. Knowing the signs of harassment can help you understand if you are a victim, and if you are, what you could do to make it stop and hold liable parties responsible for what you are experiencing.
Forms of workplace harassment
Workplace harassment can take many different forms, and it is not always easy to know that you are a victim. However, there is a difference between annoying behaviors and harassment, and the following facts may help you understand the difference:
- Harassment can take verbal and psychological forms, but it can also include actions that are physical harassment or sexual harassment.
- A workplace harasser could be a supervisor, co-worker, manager, customer, client, third party or someone else connected with your job.
- Victims may not be certain they are experiencing harassment because sometimes it is subtle, or they may not believe they have enough evidence to come forward.
- Digital harassment, also called cyberbullying, is a common way for one to experience harassment in the workplace.
If you are the victim of harassment in the workplace, you may find it beneficial to carefully document everything you are experiencing. This could be important if you decide to pursue a civil claim at some point in the future.
Standing up for your rights
Victims of harassment often remain silent because they are uncertain of what they can do to defend themselves, or they may have concerns about how reporting harassment could impact their careers. If you are suffering because of workplace harassment and are unsure of what to do next, you may benefit from seeking an opinion of your legal options, starting with an assessment of your case.