When bullying crosses the line into harassment 

While most companies have policies against workplace bullying, legal actions generally can’t be taken against workplace bullies. These are matters that have to be sorted out internally. 

Harassment, on the other hand, is actionable in law. Harassment tends to be unlawful because it targets an employee based on protected characteristics. So, when does bullying cross the line into harassment

When there is a discriminatory element 

Workers in New York have legal protections based on protected characteristics like race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and disability. If an employee is harassed on one of these grounds, then this is unlawful. Harassment may be verbal- such as making inappropriate comments- and it can even go as far as physical assaults. 

Sexual harassment 

Sadly, sexual harassment is still prevalent in the American workplace. Sexual harassment comprises any form of conduct that amounts to unwanted sexual advances. While men can experience sexual harassment, the majority of unwanted sexual advances in the workplace are aimed at women. Up to 85% of women will experience sexual harassment at some point during their careers. 

Types of harassment 

As mentioned, harassment can be both physical and verbal and it can do physical and psychological damage to those on the receiving end. In today’s day and age, it’s also important to remember that harassment can occur in online spaces like social media. 

If harassment has a discriminatory or sexual element to it, then this can be actionable in law. If something like this has happened to you and your employer has not found a suitable solution, be sure to look into your legal options.    

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