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Harassment & Bullying in the Workplace Safety Training 8-2013

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Heather Robertson

on 18 August 2014

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Transcript of Harassment & Bullying in the Workplace Safety Training 8-2013

How to know when things are not okay,
and what you can do.


There are 3 laws that address discrimination
and harassment in the workplace.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is designed to protect those of different race, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act
of 1967 covers employees over 40.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 protects the disabled in the workplace from harassment.

Harassment may include, but is not limited to:

offensive jokes
name calling
physical assaults or threats
ridicule or mockery
insults or put-downs
offensive objects or pictures
interference with work performance

Harassment and bullying both involve behavior which harms, intimidates, threatens, victimizes, undermines, offends, degrades or humiliates.

What is the difference between harassment and bullying?

Harassment is always linked to Anti-discrimination Laws and thus will focus on gender, race, ethnic background, color, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability. Harassment may be a single incident or a series of incidents.

Bullying is repeated inappropriate behavior, direct or indirect, and by one or more persons which undermines an individuals right to dignity, it is repeated, deliberate, disrespectful behavior.

Is there currently a U.S. law against workplace bullying?

The United States is last among the industrialized western democracies to have any laws concerning workplace bullying. (There are currently anti-bullying laws in schools).

Since 2003, 25 states (Oklahoma being the 2nd state) have introduced the Healthy Workplace Bill (H.W.B.).

Presently, the U.S. completely ignores workplace bullying in it’s vast collection of laws... it’s only a matter of time. Although no laws have yet been enacted - 10 states now have 14 active bills.

Harassment is anything that is perceived by the victim as aggressive,
insulting, inappropriate, demeaning, racially directed, of national origin, ethnically slanted, religion, age, or disability based.

Let’s define sexual harassment

Harassment includes “sexual harassment” . Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, or the victim and harasser can be the same sex. The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a vendor, a client, or a customer.

Although the law does not prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

Hostile work environment harassment occurs when unwelcome comments or conduct based on sex, race or other legally protected characteristics unreasonably interferes with an employee's work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Anyone in the workplace might commit this type of harassment. The victim can be anyone affected by the conduct, not just the individual at whom the offensive conduct is directed.

Overheard in the smoking area...

"Hey Nancy, how do you like your new job so far?'

"Well, I really like the job, but one of my co-workers keeps hitting on me & asking me out...I am just not interested in going out with anyone right now. It's gotten to the point that I try to work in a different area to avoid being together."
Is this harassment?

A. Yes
B. No
C. That Depends
A. Yes.

Anytime an employee feels that their environment is hostile due to the actions of others, that is a hostile environment, and is illegal.
Chatter in the office...

"Hey my Supervisor is really nice and he is pretty good-looking, maybe I should ask him out?"
Is this harassment?

A. Yes
B. No
C. That Depends
Although it is legally permissible for an employee to ask their Supervisor out, it is not permissible for a Supervisor to date their employees (GPC Handbook, 7.5 Fraternization Policy, Section 3 - Employees who hold a position as Supervisor or Manager are strongly encouraged to refrain from becoming romantically involved with any subordinate and are prohibited from becoming romantically involved with a subordinate over whom they have direct authority or the authority to influence their working conditions.)
In the breakroom...

"Yeah, Alice is nice, but she's a little slower than the rest of the crew. I'm kind of surprised that someone her age is still working".
Is this harassment?

A. Yes
B. No
C. That Depends
c. That Depends

If this is a comment made between co-workers, it is inappropriate, to say the least, but it is not harassment.

However, if it is someone in a Supervisory position over Alice, that can be interpreted as differential treatment (of someone over 40), and is illegal.

Also, if the statement is repeated several times, it could be interpreted as unlawful harassment.
Is this harassment?

A. Yes
B. No
C. That Depends
Technically, no.

What happens after work between two consenting adults who do not report to one another in the workplace is outside regulation or policy.

However, if behavior outside work affects the job environment, that is a concern to GPC management.
Let's define 'Bullying'

Bullying at work involves repeated negative actions and practices that are directed at one or more workers.

Bullying is hostile, aggressive, or unreasonable behavior perpetrated against a co-worker (or co-workers).

Bullies use these behaviors simply to embarrass humiliate or to expand their power and influence. These behavior(s) cause humiliation, offense, and/or distress to the victim(s).
Bullying and harassment in the workplace are serious matters.

All individuals have the right to be treated with dignity and respect, and work in an environment that is free from unlawful discrimination or degrading treatment.
The terms "'bullying' and 'harassment" are ofter used interchangeably and it is not uncommon for bullying to be considered a form of harassment.
Harassment in the workplace is a serious topic, and can be uncomfortable even to talk about. We talk about it here to ensure that our workplace is free of unwanted and unacceptable behaviors.
Unlawful harassment is ...unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, and the conduct has the purpose or effect of - violating an individual's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful to harass somebody based on a protected characteristic - which are sex, race, disability, age, religion/belief (or the lack there of) and sexual orientation. Of course harassment of a sexual nature is also unlawful.
Harassment is any behavior which is...

50% percent of employees have either experienced or witnessed some kind of bullying in the workplace.
Bullying has a profound impact on workplace productivity and employee morale. It destroys creativity, increases employee turnover and spreads like wildfire through organizations, destroying them from within.

Psychologists have compared the effects of bullying on victims as similar to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Bullying can be peer-to-peer or it can be perpetrated by managers or supervisors who take advantage of their positions of power.

Bullying can be physical, verbal, nonverbal, or psychological. It can occur face-to-face, on the phone, or online and may be perpetrated by groups of employees or by individuals.

How can you stop workplace bullying and harassment?

It’s simple.

1. Treat co-workers with respect.
2. Treat co-workers fairly and equally.
3. Speak up when you witness bullying or harassment.
The best way to eliminate bullying in the workplace is to remember the “golden rule” treat co-workers exactly like you would like to be treated
- with dignity & respect.

Let's do our part to keep the Golden Pony Casino free from this type of behavior. We want to encourage our staff at all levels to promote a culture of diversity, welcoming all work and all who visit here.

After all, all employees deserve a workplace where they can do their jobs to the best of their abilities – a workplace free of fear and full of respect.
The law also makes it illegal to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.
Workplace harassment should be addressed as soon as possible. In fact, harassing behavior may escalate when harassers feel they can get away with it.
The following behaviors are considered workplace bullying and should not be tolerated in any organization:

The use of inappropriate language, put-downs, insults and name-calling.
Taunting, teasing or making jokes about a co-worker when the intent is to embarrass and humiliate.
Sabotaging another employees work or copying, plagiarizing, or stealing work from a co-worker and passing it off as your own.
Deliberately isolating or excluding co-worker from work-related activities.
Yelling, screaming, sarcasm or other verbal abuse with intent to threaten, intimidate or humiliate.
Menacing a co-worker with threatening looks, gestures and/or body language.
Hazing or initiations that seek to physically or psychologically embarrass or humiliate a new coworker.
Unreasonably creating conflict or refusing to work with a coworker.
Physically threatening, shoving, striking, or touching a co-worker an intimidating or inappropriate manner.
Gossiping or spreading rumors about co-workers… including the planting false information.
Using private or confidential information to defame or destroy the reputation of a co-worker.
Setting unrealistic standards and deadlines which are unachievable or that are changed without notice or reason.
Giving excessive, unreasonable and /or unending amounts of work to a subordinate employee.
Deliberately denying co-workers the resources necessary to do their jobs effectively.
Ignoring, ridiculing or belittling co-workers contribution or deliberately failing to acknowledge his or her good work.
Giving unjustly negative performance appraisals or taking unwarranted disciplinary action.
Singling out, treating a co-worker differently, or holding a subordinate employee to different standards than his or her peers.
Excessive, unneeded and/ or negative micromanagement that undermines an employee's ability to do his or her job effectively.

If you are being bullied or harassed...
How you respond depends on the seriousness of the behavior, whether the harasser is your supervisor, and in general, how comfortable you are speaking directly to the person.

If it is a co-worker, the conduct is not very serious, and you are comfortable speaking to them directly, you should do so.

However if the behavior is serious, a supervisor is harassing you or you are simply not comfortable speaking directly to the person bothering you, you should find out who to complain to and do so immediately
If you decide, as a first step, to speak to the person who is harassing you -

Be direct and clear about the behavior that you want to stop.
Don't let the person argue or debate the issue - if they do, continue to tell them that you do not like the behavior and you want it to stop.

If the behavior does not stop or you are not comfortable speaking to the person directly -

Talk to HR or direct supervisor. Whomever you feel the most comfortable talking to.
Tell them what behavior you are concerned about. Be specific.
Follow up with them to provide updated information, if there is any, and to determine what action is taken.

If you believe you are being retaliated against, document what has occurred and let the person handling your complaint know.
Personnel Handbook page 19 Section 2.12
Witnessing Harassment or Bullying
As a bystanders you can either be part of the problem or an important part of the solution.
Supportive Bystander - Just as we have human rights we also have a responsibilities to respect and protect the rights of others. A Supportive Bystander will take action to protect the rights of others by using words and/or that can help someone who is being bullied.
Full transcript