Small Business Tax Center
Small Business Ideas, Grants &
Plans to Start & Run a Business:

Small Business Grants
Network in Cyberschmooz Community Ask Questions Questions and Answers Share Tips Small Business Ideas List Your Business Business Advice from Idea Cafe Experts Coffee Talk with Experts Starting A Business Business Plan Biz Planning | Sample Plans Small Business Ideas Idea Name Your Biz Name Plan Your Biz Plan Financing $ Starting a Business Do It! Running your Business Marketing Tips Promotional Merchandise Marketing Tips Marketing | Sales | Customers Human Resources HR | Employees | Contractors Legal Forms & Tax Information Legal | Biz Forms Managing a Business Managing | Operations
Financing Resources Financing Your Business E Commerce & Webhosting eCommerce Take Out Info Trade Publications FREE Trade Publications Business Books Biz Books Your Own Business Small Business News Small Biz News Gen X Biz Gen X Biz Work at Home Work @ Home Business Information The Fridge - Biz Info on Ice Destress Send Awards Send Awards & Greetings Yoga At Your Desk Yoga @ Your Desk Fun Guide Guide to Find FUN Online About Idea Cafe Press Idea Cafe has received Idea Cafe in the News Idea Cafe's Kudos Kudos for Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Advertise on Idea Cafe Privacy Policy Privacy Policy Contact Idea Cafe Contact Idea Cafe Link to Idea Cafe Link to/from Idea Cafe Join Idea Cafe
Search Idea Cafe Site Directory Site Map Online directory to business resources Biz Web Guide

Expert Answers to Biz Questions

Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

color business bar

5 Types of Workplace Harassment Managers Need to be Aware Of and What to Do About It


As a manager, it’s your responsibility to be aware of the types of harassment employees can suffer, as well as what to do about it. No matter if the employees under your supervision work closely together or they are workers who are more independent, it’s up to you to ensure their safety and wellbeing within the work environment. Here are five types of workplace harassment you should be aware of and what you can do if an employee experiences any of them.


1. Verbal Harassment

Workplace harassment, which is verbal in nature is nonphysical and only occurs through words or gestures. It consists of any type of demeaning remarks, including insults, racial slurs, inappropriate jokes or comments intended to hurt someone’s feelings. It also can include offensive gestures or criticism that goes beyond what is reasonable. Yelling and/or cursing at someone can also be considered verbal harassment.

What you can do about it: Confront the perpetrator about her behavior and make it known  that you have a no-tolerance policy for verbal harassment. Document the incident and give the person a warning that if any further harassment occurs, there will be more serious consequences.


2. Digital Harassment

Digital harassment, also known as cyberbullying, can be just as traumatizing as if the bullying were done face-to-face. According to information from Hand law office: “Harassment may be charged if, using a phone or other electronic means such as email, a person communicates with the intent to harass, threatens bodily injury or property damage or communicates obscenity.”

What you can do about it: Once your employee reports the digital harassment to you, encourage her to take screenshots of texts or pictures that are received and to save emails. Once you have evidence, document it and confront the employee about the harassment. Depending on how serious the digital evidence is, you might have to consider calling the authorities, as well as termination.


3. Physical harassment

Physical harassment differs from sexual harassment in that although the harassment involves touching, it is not in any way sexual in nature. Simple, uninvited gestures, such as someone touching your shoulder, face, clothing, hair or skin can be considered physical harassment if it is carried out in a way that makes you uncomfortable.

Other physical harassment gestures include assault or threats of bodily harm or damage to the person’s property.

What you can do about it: Ask the victim to document each incident that has occurred. Once you have the documentation, meet with the perpetrator and make it clear that you will not tolerate any form of physical harassment. You may need to place the employee on probation or even fire him. In the event that the physical harassment ever turns violent, call 911.


4. Psychological harassment

Psychological harassment can be considered a form of mental torture because it can include tactics that are intended to cause a person mental anguish, destroy self-esteem or gaslight them. Examples are taking credit for someone else’s hard work, making impossible demands, requiring extra work that’s way outside of the job scope, moving objects or changing data to cause confusion or rudely rejecting every suggestion the person makes.

What you can do about it: Ask the victim to document every incident to build evidence against the harasser. Because this is a difficult thing to pin down, make it clear to all employees that any type of harassment, including psychological, will not be tolerated. Once you have documentation of the incidents, meet with the perpetrator to see what he has to say. Document the meeting and decide how best to proceed, such as putting the employee on probation or terminating him.


5. Sexual harassment

A surprising number of workers, both male and female, have experienced some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. This type of harassment can include touching someone inappropriately, telling sexual jokes, sending pornographic pictures via email, text or through social media, requesting sexual favors or making sexual remarks about a person’s body or attributes.

What you can do about it: Ask the victim to document each incident — past and future — and take screenshots of or save any type of digital communication for evidence. Meet with the perpetrator and discuss the incidents. Decide how to proceed. You could refer the employee to counseling if your workplace offers an employee assistance program. You could also put the employee on probation with the understanding that he could lose his job if any further incidents occur.


Going Forward

It’s vital to have practices for preventing harassment in place. Have a strict no-tolerance policy for any form of harassment and make it known to all employees that violating the policy could result in legal action or termination.  

Require employees to end different types of harassment training so that they are fully aware of what harassment entails. This can make it much easier to terminate a worker if needed because they have been made aware of what is not acceptable behavior in advance.


Small Business Tax CenterIdea Cafe HomeSign UpBiz Grant CenterCyberSchmoozCoffee Talk with ExpertsPeople in Biz ProfilesStarting Your BizBiz PlanningRunning Your BizFREE Trade PublicationsMarketingFinancing Your BizHuman ResourcesLegal & Biz FormsManaging Your BizeCommerceYou and Your BizGen XWork@HomeThe FridgeDe-StressSend an AwardSend an eGreetingYoga @ Your DeskWeb GuideIdea Cafe in the NewsAbout Idea CafeAdvertise on Idea CafeContact UsPrivacy PolicySite MapSmall Biz News

Copyright 1995-2024, Idea Cafe Inc. Downloads are for personal use only, not for resale to others, and may not be reprinted in any form without written permission from Idea Cafe Inc.

DISCLAIMER: We hope whatever you find on this site is helpful, but be cautioned that it may not apply to your own situation, or be totally current at any given time. Idea Cafe Inc. and all of its current and past experts, sponsors, advertisers, agents, contractors and advisors disclaim all warranties with regard to anything found anywhere on this family of websites, quoted from, or sent from Idea Cafe. and its related sites, publications and companies. We also take no responsibility for comments published by others on these pages.

TRADEMARKS: The following are Registered Trademarks or Servicemarks of DevStart, Inc.: Idea Cafe®, Online Coffee Break®, The Small Business Gathering Place®, Take out Info®, Biz Bar & Grill®, Complaint-O-Meter®, A Fun Approach to Serious Business™, CyberSchmooz™, and BizCafe™.