Workplace Harassment: What Supervisors Need to Know

The main objective of this session is to help you understand workplace privacy rules and balance the rights of your employees with the rights of the organization. By the time the session is over, you should be able to recognize key workplace privacy issues, understand laws and policies concerning workplace privacy, and know how to balance the needs of the organization to control the workplace with the privacy rights of employees.

Why “Workplace Harassment: What Supervisors Need to Know” Matters

  • Harassment on the job is a very real and serious problem. It shows up in workplaces large and small in all states—north and south, east and west, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, despite many years of civil rights action, implementation of federal and state fair employment laws, and considerable progress on the part of most employers to combat employment discrimination, bias remains a pervasive and damaging problem in the workplace.
  • In fact, the number of harassment complaints filed with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or EEOC, and state fair employment agencies has risen significantly. For example, in recent years there has been a fivefold increase in racial harassment charges and a tenfold increase in the number of racial harassment cases going to court. Furthermore, resentment of people from countries associated with terrorism has caused a new wave of harassment. And many workers of other ethnic origins also suffer from harassment on the job.
  • Workplace harassment can take many forms—for example, racial and ethnic slurs, threats, racial and ethnic jokes and labels, and derogatory comments about people because of their religion or background. Often the harassment comes from co-workers. But sometimes members of management—especially supervisors—are also involved.

Key Points

  • Illegal harassment is unwelcome behavior directed at a person because of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, or sex.
  • No rude, insensitive, or abusive behavior of any kind should be tolerated, even if it falls short of illegal harassment.
  • Managers and supervisors play a critical role in identifying harassment, investigating incidents, taking corrective action, and enforcing company policy.

Duration: 29 minutes

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