Nip it in the bud.
The Department of Labor found that the most effective way to reduce harassing and hostile behavior is to categorize it as misconduct. Eliminate the behaviors or actions before they become severe and long-lasting enough to violate the law. Learn a lesson from the Benny Boyd Auto Group and fix the situation before it escalates.
Any kind of verbal, physical, or visual conduct could meet the legal definition. It all comes down to the context of the situation and what is motivating the perpetrator to do or say the bad things.
Obviously, this can include sexual harassment. It can include touching, grabbing, groping, and rubbing. It can include unwanted comments regarding how you look, what you’re wearing, your body type, and more. It can include repeated requests to go out on dates and retaliation for turning down the requests.
Aside from sexual harassment, a hostile work environment can also include offensive conduct. However, for offensive conduct to constitute a hostile work environment, it must be motivated by your race, religion, gender, disability, age, or any other protected class.
This can include showing pornography, ridiculing disabled people, mocking religions, teasing older workers, making obscene jokes or statements, refusing to let females attend networking events, reprimanding pregnant employees for going to doctor’s appointments, and more.