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Sometimes harassment within the workplace can be quite a subtle thing so even the sharpest of human resource (HR) professionals can occasionally miss it from time to time. After all, it is almost impossible to keep constant watch over all workers and what they are doing at all times. Additionally, staff often have their own views on what acting professionally within the workplace involves.

For instance, some workers may think using swear words is completely fine within the workplace whilst talking to their colleagues, whereas some likely think that there is no place for it within a professional setting due to the offence that it may cause. 

The three most common types of harassment that occur in America’s workplaces include the following:

Visual

Visual signs of harassment are by far the hardest for anyone to spot as a lot of the time it is highly subjective and requires a person to put themselves in the shoes of someone else. Some forms of visual harassment include the drawing of derogatory or violent images, the watching of violent videos or pornogrpahy, the displaying of inappropriate posters within the workplace.

Physical

This can be a little difficult to identify as it can be quite subtle sometimes. It can include things such as the playing of certain music with degrading or offensive language in it, making facial suggestions that can be deemed as sexually suggestive, standing within a colleagues personal space too closely, unwanted touching of a colleague or their clothing, and/or making certain hand gestures to convey swear words (i.e. putting up two or one fingers).

Lots of the time this type of behaviour is not actually directed towards the person who is being harassed. For instance, there may be a situation where two colleagues are joking around with one another when one of them makes a hand gesture that is inappropriate and someone else sees it. This other person may feel uncomfortable as a result and, in the worst-case scenario, harassed.

Written / Verbal

This is quite an obvious form of harassment and is probably the one that occurs the most often. Some of the ways in which this can manifest itself include in the sending of malicious emails or ones that contain inappropriate jokes or memes, repeatedly sending text messages that request sexual favours or dates, imitating a colleagues accent (domestic or foreign), or making inappropriate comments about a fellow workers age or disability. 

The increasing use of modern technology within the workplace has increased incidents of written discrimination. For instance, it is quite easy for a worker to send an email containing content that is inappropriate, such as pornography, to everyone in a given workplace, even if it was not the intent of the sender. 

Whilst the above review has provided some insight into some of the most common types of harassment that occur within the workplace if you want to learn more about Missouri workplace harassment laws, click here.