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What Are the Different Harassment Laws?

Email harassment can occur across electronic devices.
At any workplace, it's essential that all employees feel that any harassment issues will be heard promptly, fairly, and without fear of retribution.
Obscene phone calls are a form of criminal harassment.
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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
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There are a number of different harassment laws, typically governing various forms of harassment or levels of severity regarding the harassment of one person by another. Though these can vary from country to country, and may also be different in various states or provinces within a country, a few common forms of harassment are sexual harassment, workplace harassment, and police harassment. There are also different harassment laws in the United States (US) regarding severity of harassment, typically identifying harassment and aggravated harassment.

In the US, there are different harassment laws dealing with various common forms of harassment. Generally, harassment is any type of behavior, both verbal and physical, that is unwanted and uninvited and serves to threaten, alarm, intimidate, or otherwise make a person feel unsafe. This can occur in relation to a person’s home or place of business, as well as any other type of public location.

Among the different harassment laws, one of the most common types is sexual harassment. This is typically defined as verbal or physical initiations of sexual activity or requests from one person to another that are unwanted and make the subject feel unsafe or otherwise adversely affected in his or her environment. Physical contact and both verbal and non-verbal communications of a sexual nature can all qualify as forms of sexual harassment. Quid pro quo sexual harassment is typically most common in the workplace, which involves the promise or suggestion of benefits or promotion in exchange for sexual favors.

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Other forms of workplace harassment can include vandalism or theft of personal items or storage areas, someone following a co-worker after work when uninvited, and persistent, unwanted attention throughout the workday. Some activities can be innocuous as long as they are desired, but if consistent and unwelcome, then they can become harassment. For example, co-workers may send each other messages throughout the day, but constant messages from an unwanted source can constitute harassment.

Some harassment laws in the US include police harassment, in which a law enforcement officer stops someone for questioning or search without probable cause. Different harassment laws in some states also indicate various levels of harassment, such as those involving direct contact and those that use phone or other communications networks for harassment. Certain laws can also indicate that those who target organizations such as religious groups commit aggravated harassment and may receive harsher punishments.

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