Signs you shouldn’t ignore when you’re being harassed at work

Workplace harassment is trending right now, more than ever. More women are speaking out against the abuse they suffered at the hand(s) of Roger Ailes. Donald Trump’s advice to women harassed in the workplace (he thinks you should quit your job, BTW) sparked a huge discussion on how we should handle harassment in the workplace. But that’s good that we’re talking about it. For too long, the subject has made people squeamish. It’s been said that speaking up may put your job at risk. Abusers may even retaliate. Despite all of this, it’s especially important to acknowledge workplace abuse because no one is immune to it. No, not even Ivanka Trump, despite her family’s statements to the contrary.

Unfortunately, abuse doesn’t always wear the telltale signs of verbal assault or ass-grabbing. It comes in a variety of forms, the warning signs of which could even be confused with a difficult boss or tactless coworker. But here are 6 warning signs you need to acknowledge in the workplace.

You’re being intimidated.

On a regular basis, you find your boss or your boss’s boss making thinly veiled or overt threats to your status with the company. Have you ever been told that if you make a certain decision, it’ll affect how you’re viewed by management or that the last person who had your job didn’t last more than six months? That kind of pressure and intimidation is a form of harassment, creating a work environment no one would want to continue in.


Your personal life is put on blast.

You’re the type who keeps your head down and stays out of the bullshit. But suddenly, you find yourself the butt of jokes. Your colleagues must have spent the previous night studying your social media accounts because they’ve been taunting you endlessly about your penchant for frozen beverages. Or your stellar performance as work is suddenly overshadowed by your tan and the day you took off work for a doctor’s appointment. You even brought in a note! But no, your head must still be at the beach, eh? What you do off the clock should never be subject to workplace gossip.

Remember that mistake you once made? Yeah, your boss does too — and won’t let you forget it.

People make mistakes. It’s human and totally normal. Yet, the one time you forgot to send a spreadsheet before the 10 A.M. meeting is the constant subject of your performance reviews and clouds the 50 other awesome things you’ve done that month. Constant reminding of human error makes employees feel like they aren’t trusted or that their work is all colored by it. But if it really was one mistake, one that has been rectified and never repeated, it may warrant a conversation with HR to discuss how you can all move on.

People at work are excluding you from activities like lunch, or happy hour. 

Suddenly, you notice that your team of four is taking meetings, lunches, or drinks without you. You’re left to figure it out when you walk past the conference room and see the rest of them laughing or covertly discussing a report you were never privy too. Being kept in the dark on departmental matters is strange, childish behavior. It’s also a form of harassment.


You use all your mental health days in the first month of the year.

Have you ever woken to the sound of your alarm only to find your hands shaking uncontrollably? Have you ever rushed to the bathroom before taking the elevator up because you were going to be physically ill at the thought of entering your office? The physical signs that manifest when your job comes to mind are serious. When your job begins to make you ill and you spend more time looking for an escape than actually working, you may need to review the signs of workplace harassment and reevaluate.


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