Monday, November 4, 2013



Harassment.  Bullying.  Discrimination.  Although there are laws to deal with flagrant versions of these social interactions in the workplace, they are often glossed over in an attempt to avoid additional conflict.  These behaviors are often ignored, but this is unacceptable and sometimes dangerous. These actions between coworkers can lead to an increasingly hostile environment.

Harassment can be loosely defined as when a person is subjected to behavior that is repeated, unwelcomed, unsolicited, or offensive. According to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work, surveys show that 5% of workers reported being subject to some form of harassment/bullying (in 2005). This might seem like a small number; however, that means that in a small company of 100 people, 5 of those people are being subjected to some form of bullying and therefore suffering from emotional instability while trying to work.

Harassment at work can diminish self-esteem, compound stress, and trigger depression. Co-workers may gloss over an incident by saying something like, “He/she just doesn’t know how to take a joke.”  If ignored, these negative interactions can escalate and may result in lower quality output, whether in the product line or customer service, possibly leading to company ethics violations.  In extreme cases, it can lead to P.T.S.D. and even homicides and/or suicides.   Harassment is not a joking matter.

It is better to prevent harassment than to have to deal with the costs of counseling and possible compensation that may be required after the harassment has occurred.

Five important steps to take to help prevent harassment include:

  • Outline and clearly state unacceptable behavior.
  • Keep an up to date anti-harassment policy. 
  • Provide conflict management training. 
  • Have clear and strict consequences for harassment complaints. 
  • Maintain confidentiality with all internal issues, making sure rumors cannot be spread due to breached confidentiality.

Always report any suspected harassment, bullying, or discrimination to your PR representative, your union (if applicable), or to the proper supervisor.

Remember: even if you get a good laugh, the end results of harassment won’t be a joking matter!

Thank you for your time and attention. Let’s make it safe this Monday. 

Christopher Feigal
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company


  1. Is choking and licking someone sexual assault?
    Internal Affairs

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