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  • Harassment: Beware the Company Holiday Parties

    Tis the time of the year for holiday parties, employee get togethers, lunch room gatherings, and “a good time was had by all,” well maybe not. These times are also prime opportunities for “Harassment,” the verbal, nonverbal, or unwanted physical contact, based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion or race.

    Harassment is more than a little good natured teasing. I have to admit that I can be a bit of a christmaspartyharassmentteaser. My wife, who doesn’t tolerate teasing too well, will let me know in no uncertain terms, when I’ve gotten too close to the line, and it becomes offensive, the room suddenly starts to get cold. Of course, it’s not that simple and it can be very complicated. We don’t all have the luxury of having that loving reminder; it will just show up as a law suit, a pink slip, or a broken relationship.

    The EEOC (United States Equal Employment Opportunity commission) Publishes a statement regarding Harassment. The following is an excerpt from that statement

    Harassment is a form of 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).

    Harassment is unwelcome conduct that is based on race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information. Harassment becomes unlawful where 1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or 2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Anti-discrimination laws also prohibit harassment against individuals in retaliation for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or lawsuit under these laws; or opposing employment practices that they reasonably believe discriminate against individuals, in violation of these laws.

    Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) will not rise to the level of illegality. To be unlawful, the conduct must create a work environment that would be intimidating, hostile, or offensive to reasonable people.

    Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance. Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

    The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker, or a non-employee.

    The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.

    Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

    For the complete statement visit http://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/harassment.cfm

    Harassment affects everybody; the offender and the immediate victim, as well as those unintended victims. Those victims can include your co-workers, management, and most of all your family, and pocketbook. Management does have a responsibility under the guidelines of the EEOC to provide training and education regarding harassment of any kind. On line training is also a very effective and inexpensive tool. Now go and enjoy your Holiday eggnog, and from all of us here at Safetyinstruction.com have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • Stop Bullying to Save Your Business

    “Bullying” may sound too high schoolish for employers to give it any extra attention. But with the increasing bullying incidents that had led to safety and health issues and made employees leave their jobs, it’s high time for employers to turn their cards and start taking this workplace “dilemma” seriously.

    True enough, it is really complicated to spot bullying. In fact, there’s a thin line between being mean and a bully. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI), while these two may look so similar, being mean actually stops when something has been successfully done. To make this a little clearer to understand, let’s have a manager and his associates as an example of a mean attitude: He gives them instructions, yells at them if he has to repeat them for the nth time, but stops all the pressures once the job is done. On the other hand, bullying is mistreating a single individual over and over again with the purpose of offending, threatening, intimidating, and/or humiliating that individual. If this isn’t enough to differentiate the two, just think of the fine line as this: personal malice.

    In his post “Taming the Workplace Bully,” Adam Piore mentioned two psychological reasons why some people are bullies - they are popular and want to stay that way, or they can also be the ones with low self-esteem and want to feel superior.

    So, what can employers do about bullying? The first step is to gather all employees, from senior managers to rack-and-file employees, to a meeting and discuss with them the efforts of the company on anti-bullying. Then, together, you can create a grievance policy that would explain what they have to do in case bullying problems arise. Lastly, follow the policy very seriously.

    Before things go out of hand, it’s good to know the root cause of small problems. Employers should take time off to walk around the working premises and see firsthand what’s really going on inside.

  • Bullying at the Workplace

    It could start with a mere snide remark about how an employee eats her lunch. To employers, it may just look like employees who love joking around to pass the hours. But if you look a little more closely, this can develop into bullying, which can hurt the productivity of victims and eventually the business. Learn more about this issue in “Taming the Workplace Bully” by Adam Piore of Bloomberg Business Week.

  • The Safety Risks You’re Exposed to at Work

    We try to finish college so we can land a high-paying job. We wake up each morning with the thought of how we’re going to get through the day at the office, how we can finally get a promotion and receive a higher salary. We go home not to relax, but to spend the whole night being bothered of how good (or bad) we did at work. Ladies and gents, don’t you know, we spend a roughly 90% of one year of our existence working for money! There’s actually no problem about it. After all, who doesn’t need money to survive? The thing is, has it ever crossed your mind whether or not you’re safe at work?

    There are different types of hazards that employees are exposed to depending mainly on the nature of their job. Occupational health, a branch in medicine that deals with possible safety risks in working environments, categorizes them into three: physical and mechanical, biochemical, and psychological.

    Among these three types, psychological hazards are the most ignored. If we only knew, intentional violence has been one of the major causes of workplace accidents, according to the Department of labor statistics. What does this tell us? Sometimes, peace of mind, stress, burnout and other psychological problems are too personal for employers to step in and care. It only means that employees, at this level, must take the responsibility. Although, we also have to take into account other psychological threats in which employers are expected to monitor and assess, such as bullying and sexual harassment.

    The safety hazard categories are fully discussed in “Is Your Workplace Safe?

  • Workplace Safety: Boredom vs. Bullying?

    Sure, bullying can be a nasty business in the workplace, and it’s only right that our laws should monitor it. The funny thing, though, is that we’re going too far away from the real concept of workplace safety by putting workplace boredom as a consequence of bullying. From where exactly is this coming from? Read more on “Strict Workplace Health and Safety Replacing Common Sense?

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