How to Compare Harassment to Professionalism in the Workplace

Staff meetings, training sessions and open communication are some ways to prevent harassment at work.

Staff meetings, training sessions and open communication are some ways to prevent harassment at work.

The workplace has been a place of skilled expertise, proper etiquette and a level of respect among co-workers. Whenever major or minor conflicts came up, they were expected to be handled with maturity and decorum. Every person has the right to work a job in a comfortable and enjoyable environment. Though many advancements have been made to encourage a positive atmosphere at work, such as sensitivity and anti-bullying programs, few incidents of workplace intimidation continue to go unnoticed. Though deciphering what is professional and what is harassment can be challenging, it is a topic that should not be avoided.

Analyze the behavior of your work environment. Everyone should be comfortable with everyone. It could be your first day on the job or you could have been working for your company for the past 10 years. Either way, the workplace is your home away from home.

To look the part, you have to play the part. Professionalism is defined as having the character and qualities that contribute the mark of a professional. These qualities include competency, humility, integrity, honesty and self discipline. Competency involves getting the work done and managing a situation if a conflict arises. While humility is perceived as a weakness by some, it can help make a person stronger. Asking for help with a project or task can make you be more approachable with others. Self discipline and emotional intelligence can be a powerful factor, but remaining calm under pressure is a vital quality of professionalism. If a supervisor can advise his or her employees to check their emotions at the front door, then he or she can lead by example and do the same.

Talk to your employer if a co-worker has done or said something that made you feel uneasy at work. The Equal Employment Opportunity Act defines harassment as unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, sex, age, religion and genetic information. It escalates to becoming unlawful when the conduct becomes a continued condition and so to pervasive that one would consider the atmosphere intimidating. No person should have to fear doing what they are paid to do. It is encouraged that the offended person or victim report it to their respective supervisor. Additionally, once a complaint is filed, anti-discrimination laws prohibit the offended person from being harassed out of retaliation.

Tip

  • Read and research your employer's policy on the company culture and code of conduct. It will state how relationships between employees, co-workers and other persons can either benefit or limit a company's potential. It also would be helpful to look into laws and acts that have been passed to prevent or decrease unfair treatment at work. If a person was being harassed at work because of their age, for example, it would be helpful to examine the purpose of the Age Discrimination Employment Act of 1967, which states the promotion of hiring individuals based on their ability rather than age.
 

About the Author

Originally from upstate New York, Regina Rivers has been writing since 2006. She has written entertainment and culture-related articles for magazines such as "Parle," "inCOLOR," "Diva Dymes" and "Stimulation Status." She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and journalism from the State University of New York at New Paltz.

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