What does "harassment" in the workplace really mean?

Harassment in the Workplace

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission accepts and investigates certain types of charges brought by employees against their employer for harassment in the workplace. Several forms of harassment are prohibited by a federal law known as Title VII.

Not all companies are covered.

¬†As a preliminary matter, be aware that Title VII does not apply to companies with less than 15 employees measured over a certain period of time.¬†Assuming your employer is covered by Title VII, you must next ask the question: What is “harassment” within the meaning of the law?

What is Harassment?

Pursuant to Title VII, the term “harassment” has a narrower meaning than is used in everyday conversation. We often think of harassment as conduct that disturbs or irritates the person on the receiving end.

Under Title VII, however, it is not enough that your supervisor is difficult, overbearing, or demanding. Instead, to violate Title VII, the conduct in question must be so severe and persistent as to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.

In addition, the harassment must be taking place because of the employee’s race, color, religion, gender, or natural origin. Put another way, you will need evidence the harasser has singled you out because you have one of those protected characteristics.

There are additional considerations for an attorney to determine whether you have a valid claim for harassment prohibited by Title VII. What is stated above, however, will give you a good starting point for consideration.

If you wish to discuss your claim with one of our attorneys, call 601-202-1111 today.

Pepper & Odom Law Firm

571 Highway 51, Suite B. Ridgeland, MS 39157


Original content by Attorney Craig Panter of Panter Law Firm