PSYCHOLOGICAL HARASSMENT: What Is It, Examples, Lawsuit & Guide

Psychological Harassment: What is it, examples, lawsuit & guide
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Psychological harassment is vexatious behavior involving persistently hostile and unwanted words, actions, or behaviors that are unpleasant, upsetting, irritating, humiliating, or insulting.

It is an unethical or harmful response to a situation or way of acting toward a person that puts the victim’s dignity and mental or physical health at risk in these circumstances, and the working or learning environment becomes toxic.

Furthermore, Psychological harassment is described as negative or hostile conduct by one or more people directed at a third party, either directly or indirectly.

Note that: 

  • This type of behavior takes place repeatedly and methodically over an extended period to attack or demean a person. 
  • It is also aimed at isolating or excluding them, and gradually ejecting them from their place of employment or educational setting. 
  • It describes a string of behaviors that, when taken individually, may seem harmless but, when repeated, negatively impact the targeted person.

What is Mental Harassment called? 

Mental harassment includes unwarranted hostile behavior, verbal threats, intimidating behaviors, and aggressive gestures directed at another person. 

It is also known as emotional bullying or mental bullying.

Furthermore, it is characterized by persistently hostile and unwanted words, actions, or behaviors that are: 

  • Unpleasant, 
  • Upsetting, 
  • Irritating, 
  • Humiliating and 
  • Insulting.

What are Mental Harassment Examples?

These are different behaviors that are examples of mental or psychological harassment, including:

  • Intentional interference with a person’s ability to communicate: For instance, constantly interrupting or yelling at someone to stop them from speaking
  • Intentionally damaging social interactions: For instance, refusing to greet someone, not saying hello, ignoring them, or acting in a way that isolates or excludes them.
  • Intentionally treating a protected group of people unfairly. Your rights as a member of a protected class must be violated in some way for harassment to occur. Thus, the conduct must somehow relate to your race, sex, religion, age, or disability.
  • Involve offensive conduct. These include the use of ethnic slurs or racist jokes, or the mimicking of an individual just to ridicule them.
  • Intentionally carrying out inappropriate conduct. The offensive behavior must be unwanted to qualify as harassment. For instance, it’s not against the law to pursue a sexual relationship with a coworker who consents to it, and the same goes for amusing and offensive humor that is shared by all.
  • Involve a degree of pervasiveness that impairs your ability to perform at work. Very frequently, the courts won’t view a single joke or a request for a date as harassment (although there are exceptions). 

Instead, it must be established that the behavior was severe enough or pervasive enough (involving numerous incidents) to have an impact on a person’s ability to perform their job. 

This could indicate that you were the subject of explicit demands (such as sexual favors in exchange for a promotion) or that you simply felt your job might be in jeopardy (regular racist jokes that suggest a person of color is not welcome at work and may lose their job).

Other Examples of Psychological Harassment

  • A person’s reputation being attacked: For instance, making fun of someone, spreading rumors about them, mocking or degrading them, or saying offensive things about them
  • Acts committed with the intent to lower a person’s quality of life, performance, or career: For instance, a person may receive unwarranted criticism, be given inappropriate, unsuitable, or offensive tasks, or not be given important tasks.
  • Actions meant to endanger someone’s health: For instance, overloading someone with work, threatening them, or using physical force against them.

The aforementioned prerequisites must all be satisfied for a harassment claim to be heard by the courts.

What are the Three 3 Types of Harassment?

Here are three types of harassment, examples, and solutions to help educate you on how to prevent them:

#1. Verbal or Written Harassment

The most obvious type of harassment is probably verbal or written, and you encounter it the most frequently. 

Examples of verbal harassment are:

  • Sending emails with offensive racial or religious jokes. 
  • Requesting dates or sexual favors repeatedly, either in person or via text. 
  • Making snide remarks about a person’s disability or age, or pretending to have someone else’s foreign accent. 

Note that: 

These days, technology is the main thing to be on the lookout for. For instance, even if the original sender had no intention of sending content containing a pornographic image, it could spread to the point where everyone would see it.

#2. Physical harassment

Physical harassment can occasionally be very subtle, making it a little harder to spot.

  • Obscene hand motions or other motions used to express profanity. 
  • Unwanted physical contact with a person or their attire. 
  • Regularly following or purposefully approaching someone too closely. 
  • Using facial expressions that are sexually explicit. 
  • Playing music that uses vulgar or offensive language. 

Note that: 

In many cases, harassment doesn’t even have to be directed at the target. As an illustration, if two coworkers are joking around and one of them makes an inappropriate hand gesture and someone else sees it, they may feel uncomfortable and even harassed.

#3. Visual harassment

The most subjective and difficult to detect is probably visual, so it’s best to put yourself in the other person’s position.

  • Wearing attire that contains vulgar or offensive language. 
  • Displaying sexually explicit posters or images. 
  • Displaying sexually explicit text messages or emails to others. 
  • Watching violent or pornographic videos in public.  
  • Sending or creating obscene or violent images. 

Note that: 

For instance, while most people might find an image funny, someone else might find the joke offensive and claim that it’s fostering hostility towards their religion or beliefs. 

What are Examples of Physical Harassment?

Physical harassment is a form of violence that can include physical attacks, threats, and sexual assault.

Dirty tricks, offensive remarks, humiliating jokes, critical remarks, intimidation tactics, ostracizing behavior, and occasionally purposeful misconduct can be used by offenders to minimize some physical harassment.

Different people view physical intimidation differently. The person on the receiving end is also the one who decides whether or not the touch was upsetting enough to be classified as assault, even though some people may believe that physical gestures like laughing are harmless.

Examples of Physical Harassment

There are many instances of physical harassment, but these are the most prevalent ones:

  • Contacting someone despite their refusal. 
  • Attacking physically, such as kicking, hitting, or pushing. 
  • Damaging or destroying another person’s personal property. 
  • Offensive admonishments or aggressive behavior. 
  • Encouraging a sexual relationship with a fellow worker. 
  • Repeatedly rub someone’s neck or grab them by the waist or shoulder. 
  • Direct humiliation with malice in mind.

How do You Prove Mental Harassment?

To prove that you are a victim of mental harassment, you must then diligently and carefully pursue your case. The best way to prove this is to compile evidence in each of the following ways:

  • Establish a timeline:

You should begin by documenting each instance of harassment as soon as it occurs to create a timeline. Be as thorough as you can when recording them, and do so in one location. 

The encounter should be described in as much detail as possible, along with the date and time. You can demonstrate that there has been a pattern of behavior over a long period as more and more occurrences are documented in this way.

  • Gather evidence

There are many different ways to present evidence. 

  1. You can try to record comments made by your harasser as they occur on your phone if you live in a state where you don’t need the other person’s permission to record them. 
  1. You can save any voicemails or emails that contain harassment, regardless of where you reside.
  1. Gather any objects used to humiliate or otherwise harass you, and take pictures of any offensive drawings or writing. 
  • Find witnesses

Find allies in your environment or workplace, as a final step. There’s a good chance that some of your coworkers have become aware of the harassment directed at you, and some of them might even be sympathetic. 

Some people may even have experienced harassment firsthand. You will have a much stronger case if you can use their testimony to prove the harassment.

After the harassment occurs, you can further verify this information by discussing it with trusted friends and family members. Speak with trusted friends or even coworkers. 

Finally, after each incident, you might also think about contacting your HR department or federal and state employment organizations like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Importance of Proof of Mental Harassment:

For many reasons, proof can be crucial in such situations as mental harassment. 

  • It might be more difficult for harassers to justify their actions and escape punishment. 
  • It can also make it more difficult for the legal system or company to ignore the behavior or conceal it.
  • You need supporting evidence to make your case. The best course of action if you’re being harassed is to keep detailed records of everything. If a coworker says something hurtful to you, make a note of what was said, who was there, and when it happened.
  • Unfortunately, the fact that it is so challenging to prove is one of the reasons it is so pervasive. For many reasons, proof can be crucial in such situations. 
  • The most crucial benefit of proof is that, should the need arise, it will help you win your case against the harasser and your employer. 

Due to all of these factors, you must comprehend both what harassment is and how to establish it. You can only be sure the behavior will stop and the harassers will receive just punishment in this way.

What to do if Someone is Torturing You Mentally?

  • Gather as much evidence as you can. 

1. Keep track of everything you believe is important for your case. 

2. Take notes during the conversations, record phone calls, etc. to increase your likelihood of succeeding in a lawsuit. 

Additionally, doing this will increase your advocate’s confidence in you and make it easier for you both to present evidence in court.

  • File a legal complaint. 

As soon as you suspect that things are out of control, you should file a complaint as psychological harassment lawsuits are taken serious in the legal system.

You can report something to the police at the closest station, and they will keep a record of everything you say.

HARASSMENT: Definition, Harassment at Work Place & Examples

WORKPLACE HARASSMENT: Types, Examples, and What You Should Know

HARASSMENT IN THE WORKPLACE: Effective Ways How to Find Out and Deal With It



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Morelli Law

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