Understanding potential forms of workplace harassment

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2023 | Employment |

The workplace should be a safe environment where you can perform your job duties without feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Workplace harassment is a significant problem that affects many people every year.

You need to understand the different types of workplace harassment so that you can identify them if they occur. Recognizing harassment is the first step in taking action to stop it.

Derogatory comments or jokes

One common form of workplace harassment is derogatory comments or jokes. These may be about your race, religion, sex, age, disability or any other characteristic protected by law. These comments may seem harmless or act as humor, in disguise, but they create a hostile work environment and can significantly affect your job performance.

Physical harassment

Physical harassment involves unwanted touching, assault or any other form of physical intimidation. It may also include threats of violence. This type of harassment can be traumatic and can lead to significant emotional distress.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment involves any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This can include inappropriate comments, unwanted touching or displaying sexually explicit material in the workplace.


Cyberbullying is a form of harassment that occurs online. This could involve sending offensive emails, posting derogatory comments on social media or other forms of online intimidation.

Retaliation for reporting harassment

In some cases, you may face harassment in the form of retaliation for reporting harassment or discrimination. This could involve demotion, negative performance evaluations or exclusion from workplace activities.

Workplace harassment is a serious issue that can cause significant harm to employees. If you experience any form of workplace harassment, remember that you have rights. You should document the harassment, report it to your supervisor or human resources department and consider contacting the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing for help.