Nobody should have to undergo harassment in the workplace. Employers should put rules in place to help protect you from it, but the law will also have your back and allow you to stop any situation involving harassment.
The definition of harassment is often misunderstood. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission explains there are a few stipulations to the definition that would make an action harassment under the law.
For an action to be defined as harassment, the actions need to be something you do not like and do not want to happen. General joking around or a situation where you ask the person to stop and they do are usually not severe enough to constitute a claim.
Hostile work environment
The actions need to create a feeling that you are not comfortable in your work environment. They may make you feel upset or like you want to avoid going to work. They may also make you fear for your safety and security.
Condition of employment
You also need to feel or have been told that you need to just accept the actions as part of the job. Your employer expects you to endure the environment and refuses to take action against it.
Situations that meet the three conditions above will usually be harassment under legal standards, but there are some situations that might be confusing. If something is annoying you or an incident occurs only one time that offends or upsets you, this is not harassment under the law.
Harassment may occur in many forms and come from almost anyone in your workplace. Even a customer could harass you, and the law says it is your employer’s responsibility to protect you from those actions.