Harassment at work can take many forms, including moral harassment. This consists of aggressive and abusive behavior towards an employee or a group of employees.
Abuse can have a drastic effect on the mental state of individuals and damage the workplace climate. But what can you do if you are harassed at work? In this article, we will show you.
Forms of harassment
Sometimes called psychological harassment or bullying, moral harassment can take many forms, depending on the behavioral abuse committed.
- Intimidation through language or gestures, threats of any kind
- Creating pressure and tension through excessive surveillance
- Applying a differential treatment to other employees
- Discrediting the employee’s professional skills
- Spreading false information about the professional and personal life of the individual
- Isolating the individual from his colleagues – either physically or by assigning tasks so that he does not have to interact with other team members
- Repeated ignorance of the individual, despite his attempts at communication
- The refusal to offer the employee tasks, so that he is demotivated and, possibly, determined to look for a new job
- Burdening the employee with too many tasks, leading to his exhaustion
A specific form of moral harassment is called mobbing and is the abuse done not by one, but by several individuals.
In the case of sexual harassment, the aggressor seeks primarily to obtain sexual favors. However, moral and psychological abuse can sometimes have sexual connotations, too.
The consequences of harassment
In general, the harasser’s behavior seems illogical and unmotivated, especially from the victim’s point of view. If he does not take any action against abuse, the employee usually ends up resigning from work or, worse, becoming physically or mentally ill.
Stress, depression, sleep disorders, and digestive disorders can occur as a result of abuse at work. There are cases where bullying has led to suicide, which is why in many states there are harsh laws against moral harassment.
What can an employee do if he or she is harassed
Once he or she understands the legislation, an employee must be able to prove the moral abuse to which he is subjected.
The types of evidence accepted by law include:
- Written evidence (including e-mails and text messages)
- Video recordings
- Audio recordings
In the case of sexual harassment (considered a crime punishable by the law), the victim can address directly to the courts and criminal prosecution bodies. If harassment at work has been proven, the employee can claim compensation in court and restitution of the previously held position (in case the abuse led to job loss).
What to do when you are harassed at work
If you are sure that you are being harassed in your workplace, follow these steps:
- Write in a document the facts that have been presented and describe the actions for which you consider that it is harassment. Add the name of the person or people who put you in this uncomfortable situation. Be as explicit as possible; do not leave any detail out. Attach evidence if any.
- File the document with the coexistence committee of the company where you work. If this office does not exist, file it in human management. They will have a few business days to respond to you. In the best of cases, they will call you to reconcile and solve the problem in the best possible way and will take measures so that these events do not happen again.
- If the answer is negative and the reconciliation does not work, you must file the letter at the territorial address of the department. To be sure which one is closest to you, check this link for the territorial addresses of the entire country.
- The letter must inform and request the governmental authorities to open an investigation to the company that harassed you at work. Again you must state and describe the facts. You must also specify that the initial procedure of reaching a friendly solution with the company has already been exhausted and that after time, they have not yet reached a solution.
- From the moment you file the letter in the territorial address, you are protected with a special jurisdiction of workplace harassment. This means that they will not be able to fire you in the next 6 months. And if they do, it will be considered invalid. You will continue to receive your salary normally and they cannot lower it or stop paying it for any reason.
- In case they try to fire you or reduce your salary, the job persecution will be confirmed.
- At this time, the governmental authorities will summon the company and ask if the situation has improved. If it has continued, administrative sanctions will apply. For example, they will fire the person who harassed you or they will impose a financial fine on the company.
If you are harassed at work, you should take action. Not dealing with this problem will only make the harasser thinking that he or she has got you in a corner. Taking action, although you could feel embarrassed about such happenings, is the first step towards a nice, cozy workplace.