Harassment in the Workplace Is Not Illegal

This seems like a shocking statement. Harassment may be wrong, but that does not make it illegal. Most companies have a policy against harassment. However, the truth is harassment is a common form of behavior in the workplace. It is condoned by the company in the form of criticism, negative reviews, and termination warnings. These acts certainly create a hostile environment for the employee—but they are not illegal.

It is illegal if the hostile work environment was due to sex, race, or age. For example, calling an employee a racial slur is illegal because it is racial discrimination. The most common form of harassment in the workplace is the inability of people to get along with each other, especially in a closed environment. Generally, this is referred to as “company politics.” In many cases, the success of the employee is not based on how productive the person is but on how well-liked the person is—however, unlike sexual harassment or racial discrimination, favoritism is not illegal.