Acting or saying words that make someone feel uncomfortable, disturbed or upset, and puts that person at risk in some way may fall under harassment. People may be targeted by a harasser especially if they are different in terms of gender, race, disability, age, looks, sexual preference, religion or nationality.
The most common types of harassment are sexual and racial. Sexual harassment is unwanted sexual attention that brings uneasiness to someone. Meanwhile, racial harassment is an action that promotes racial stereotyping or bias for and against a particular race.
The Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 are laws that prohibit harassing actions from happening to anyone at any condition or place.
Harassment around the workplace is a frequent issue in many countries. This causes a lot of problems on the relationship among employees and may even affect their work. Harassers in the office may be the boss, supervisor, manager, a member of the board of directors, customer, or the fellow employee.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), harassing conducts on the workplace include, but is not limited to, "offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance."
However, despite the offensive action, not all conducts can be filed under harassment. This happens mainly when the harasser is a co-worker who has no power over the victim at work. It may only be considered harassment if the mistreatment was done after work.
Boss / supervisor harassment cases are worse than those done by the fellow employees though. They are superiors who should be promoting leadership and professionalism by not tolerating offensive and prohibited behavior by employees in the workplace, which is far from what harassment suggests.
A boss has the authority over a lot of employees so he naturally has the right to order them around. He may make sexual advances or demands to employees even when he is not at work anymore, or call out offensive names when in rage.
Employers are expected to stop such acts from happening. They should make more rigid laws regarding harassment and give harsher punishments to those who committed it, may he be a regular employee or a superior.