Workplace harassment can take many forms. Bullying and sexual harassment are two of the most common kinds of harassment in the workplace, but even something as simple as one person always taking credit for another person's work or ideas can be a form of harassment. One of the best tips for dealing with workplace harassment is to confront the problem head on.
Often, someone who is harassing others in the workplace is doing it because he or she thinks he can get away with it. When confronted in a calm yet assertive manner, there is a chance that the harassment will stop. It is important, when confronting someone, to be able to provide examples of specific instances when the harassment took place, as well as the personal impact it had. It will generally not work without specific examples, because the person who is doing the harassing may not recognize that there is a problem.
Another tip for dealing with workplace harassment is to simply not respond. A person may constantly make jokes at someone else's expense because he or she likes to see them squirm, or because he enjoys making other people laugh. If other people do not acknowledge the joking or bullying, the person may get discouraged and stop. Refusing to engage with someone also helps to prevent situations from escalating. In addition, be sure managers are always clear on who is doing the work.
Of course, not all instances of workplace harassment can be dealt with one-on-one. If the harassment continues, begin to make notes of each instance, and bring these notes to a superior or someone in the human resources department. Some companies also offer anonymous phone numbers that employees can call to report instances of sexual harassment without fear of repercussions. Once a manager is made aware of the situation, he or she should meet with the employee to give a verbal warning and discuss the areas in which changes need to be made. If the harassment does not stop, disciplinary action should take place, followed by employment termination, though this may not always be possible.
If all avenues of dealing with the harassment have been explored, unfortunately the only way to deal with it may be to transfer to another department, or look for another job altogether. Constant harassment and distress can be detrimental to one's mental and physical health. In addition, if at any time one feels physically threatened due to workplace harassment, it is perfectly acceptable to call authorities. One's safety and health should never be put at risk due to workplace harassment.