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Harassment in the Workplace: What You Should Know

The recognition of harassment in the workplace has very much been an evolutionary process. Without a doubt, the formal process of filing harassment charges in the workplace has certainly come along way over the past six decades. Thankfully, the federal government's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has put in place stringent policies and enforcements to keep harassment in the workplace at a minimum. Whether you have found yourself in a situation of workplace harassment, or you simply want to remain informed on what the current policies are, here are a few things you should know about harassment in the workplace.

The OSH Act

Established by the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, employees have the right to have their employer provide a safe and healthy workplace. This includes an environment free of any type of unwarranted harassment, whether physical or emotional. Under the guidelines of this act, employers are responsible to set and enforce workplace standards. They must provide training, education and active support/outreach for all employees. In addition, all employers must meet the standards put forth by OSHA. This includes complying with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, requiring them to maintain a workplace free of major hazards. For such reason, if you or someone you know has been affected by harassment in the workplace, you may want to involve an employment attorney.

Bullying in The Workplace

According to a 2007 survey, 13% of employees in the United States felt bullied in their workplace. In addition, 12% said they have seen bullying of some sort in the workplace. What's more, almost half of all employees surveyed have come into contact with some sort of workplace bullying. To shed some light on exactly what constitutes bullying in the workplace, here are a few tactics used by workplace bullies (reported by the Workplace Bullying Institute):

- Disregarding an employee’s thoughts or feelings publicly
- Making up random rules that are not personally followed
- Encouraging team bullying
- Starting rumors about someone in the workplace
- Yelling, screaming or any other type of outburst
- Stealing credit for the work of others
- Any sort of physical or mental abuse
- Suggesting someone quit his/her job.

There are many other types of bullying that can occur in the workplace. If you feel that you have been a victim or witness to any sort of workplace bullying, you may want to contact an employment attorney to consider your options for taking further action.

Alisha Nickerson has provided several publications relating to legal advice, for both consumer and businesses.  Ms. Nickerson has written informative editorial on personal injury law, employment law, insurance claims, and medical malpractice lawsuits.

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