The workplace should be a space where individuals can thrive, collaborate and contribute to a shared goal. However, when harassment enters the workplace environment, it can have profound and lasting effects on the individuals involved. Harassment can be caused by supervisors, or co-workers, or even customers.
Understanding the emotional, psychological and professional repercussions of harassment at work can empower you to take action.
Experiencing harassment while doing your job can take a serious emotional toll. Many people have overwhelming feelings of anxiety, fear and humiliation. The psychological effects of harassment can extend beyond the workplace. You may have increased stress, difficulty concentrating and disrupted sleep patterns.
The hostile work environment can hinder personal well-being. Support from friends, family or professional counselors can help you manage the emotional fallout. Professional mental health support can help you navigate the aftermath of workplace harassment.
Harassment can jeopardize career growth and success. Individuals may become disengaged from their work, reducing productivity and job satisfaction. Harassment may even give employees no choice but to resign.
Keep detailed records of workplace harassment incidents in order to address them. Documentation can be useful when discussing the issue with supervisors, HR or external authorities. You should make every effort to report the harassment, so that management cannot claim they did not know about, and management will be forced to take action.
Impact on relationships
Harassment can impact your personal life, straining relationships with family and friends. The stress and emotional turmoil from the workplace can make it difficult to function outside the professional realm.
Maintaining open communication with loved ones is vital. Sharing experiences and feelings can foster understanding and support during difficult times.
Effects on workplace culture
Workplace harassment also influences the overall workplace culture. A toxic environment can lead to decreased morale and lower team cohesion. A healthy workplace involves inclusivity, anti-harassment policies, and resources for reporting harassment.
According to the EEOC, more than 98,000 Americans reported harassment at work from 2018 through 2021. If you find yourself in this common situation, you can seek legal assistance to retain your career and your well-being.