Physical harassment in the workplace is a form of workplace violence that occurs when an individual or group of individuals are subjected to unwanted, offensive, or violent physical contact or gestures. This type of harassment can range from minor physical contact to serious physical assault and can have severe consequences for both the individuals targeted and the overall work environment. In this blog post, we will discuss what constitutes physical harassment, the forms it can take, the impact it can have, and steps that can be taken to prevent and address it.
What is Physical Harassment?
Physical harassment is unwanted, offensive, or violent physical contact or gestures that create a hostile or intimidating work environment for an individual or group of individuals. This can include any form of physical contact that is violent, threatening, or intimidating in nature, such as hitting, pushing, or making threatening gestures.
Forms of Physical Harassment
Physical harassment can take many forms and can range from minor physical contact to serious physical assault. Some examples of physical harassment include:
- Touching someone without their consent
- Physical assault, such as hitting, punching, or pushing
- Unwanted sexual advances or unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature
- Making threatening gestures, such as pointing a finger or brandishing a weapon
- Stalking or following someone in a way that is threatening or intimidating
- Harassment that creates a physical barrier that impedes or intimidates, like blocking the way or crowding someone into a corner.
Impact of Physical Harassment
The impact of physical harassment can be severe and long-lasting. Individuals who are subjected to physical harassment may suffer physical injuries, as well as emotional and psychological trauma. This can result in decreased job performance, and increased absenteeism, and in some cases, the individual may leave their job or be terminated. In addition, physical harassment can create a toxic work environment for everyone, including those who may not be directly targeted but who witness the behaviour.
Preventing and Addressing Physical Harassment
Employers must take steps to prevent physical harassment from occurring in the workplace. This can include creating and enforcing policies that prohibit physical harassment, providing training to employees on what constitutes physical harassment and how to report it, and taking swift and appropriate action when physical harassment is reported.
Employees who feel they have been subjected to physical harassment have several options for seeking help and acting. They can report the behaviour to their employer, file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), or consult with an attorney.
In conclusion, physical harassment in the workplace is a serious issue that can have significant negative impacts on both individuals and the work environment. Employers have a responsibility to prevent and address physical harassment, and employees who feel they have been subjected to physical harassment have options for seeking help and acting. It is important for everyone in the workplace to be aware of what constitutes physical harassment, and to take steps to create a culture of respect and safety in the workplace.
If you are looking for a way to educate your workforce and make your workplace a safer place, contact Sentrient for a free demo today.