How to Know When You've Been Harassed at Your Job

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Any incidents that are negatively impacting your work should be reported immediately to your manager or human resources department.
Any incidents that are negatively impacting your work should be reported immediately to your manager or human resources department. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines harassment as any unwelcome behavior that is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 or the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Adverse treatment on the basis of age, gender, race, religion or disability is forbidden by these laws. Because harassment is based on perception, many people are unsure of what specific actions are considered workplace harassment. There are a few things you can do to determine whether you have become a victim of harassment.

Ask yourself if the circumstances would pass the reasonable person test. The EEOC states that, for an action to be considered unlawful, "the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile or offensive to reasonable people.” This is an objective test to determine if a reasonable person would consider the situation in question to be out of line.

Keep detailed, written documentation about the events in question. When determining whether an allegation is of a harassing and unlawful nature, a pattern usually exists. With the exception of extreme situations, isolated events would typically not be considered harassment.

Remember that harassment is all about perception. If you feel that you are being treated differently or if actions and behaviors at work are creating a hostile environment, you might be a victim of workplace harassment. Any incidents that are negatively impacting your work should be reported immediately to your manager or human resources department.

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