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Harassment as a Form of Workplace Violence and How to Prevent It From Occurring

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) specifically defines "harassment" as a form of workplace violence. OSHA provides guidance on the prevention of workplace violence. It also has a written policy in place to protect its own workers from experiencing workplace violence along with a reporting mechanism in the event it occurs.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also concerned about the effects of harassment. For instance, the CDC recently publicized the fact that "more than double the number of health workers reported harassment at work in 2022 than in 2018. This may include threats, bullying, verbal abuse, or other actions from patients and coworkers that create a hostile work environment. This finding has important implications for health worker mental health..."

Furthermore, according to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces several employment laws, harassment is a type of unlawful employment discrimination that "violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, (ADA)."

The WVPI has long taken the position that prevention is the best solution to mitigate the risk of harassment and other former of workplace violence from manifesting and occurring.

The EEOC believes that taking a proactive stance against harassment is absolutely imperative. According to the EEOC:

"Prevention is the best tool to eliminate harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take appropriate steps to prevent and correct unlawful harassment. They should clearly communicate to employees that unwelcome harassing conduct will not be tolerated. They can do this by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process, providing anti-harassment training to their managers and employees, and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains. Employers should strive to create an environment in which employees feel free to raise concerns and are confident that those concerns will be addressed."



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