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Blog Sharing - The EEOC's Chart of Risk Factors

Stress, burnout, and low morale are all signs of harassment in the workplace.

Hello everyone. I am slowly getting myself back into the swing of things. I just discovered an interesting post from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC's) website, which can be found in the link below, which I feel might be beneficial for anyone that has been following my blog so far:

Basically, these are risk factors that the EEOC has identified and curated as making workplaces especially susceptible for harassment. They will be summarized in the following list.

  1. Homogenous workforce. Basically, there is no diversity in the workplace. This makes it easy to single out and isolate anyone that is diverse.

  2. Workplaces where employees do not conform to workplace norms. Basically, there are expectations and rules which have been established a long time ago, but no one really follows these expectations.

  3. Cultural and language differences. This makes singling with different ethnic or national origins easier.

  4. Coarsened social discourse. This was hard for me to understand at first, but essentially, things which should be discussed outside working hours, are forced into discussion during normal working hours. This creates petty workplace politics and other issues. Your work should be separated from your regular life. A workplace that tries to force you into discussing personal matters can be the sign of a harassment-rich environment.

  5. Young workforces. Younger workplaces generally are very volatile, and don't have a lot of things figured out, yet. While this doesn't excuse harassment-promoting behavior, it at least makes it more understandable.

  6. Workplaces with "high value" employees. Essentially, some employees are valued more than others, which promotes disparity and inequity. People should be evaluated based on their abilities, not favoritism.

  7. Workplaces with significant power disparities. This happens a lot in organizations like the military and academia. People will naturally be treated differently because of the power dynamics which are in place.

  8. Workplaces that rely on customer service or client satisfaction. Harassment doesn't have to come from or originate from the employer. Customers and clients can also promote harassment, by making unreasonable demands, which can trickle down from the supervisor, down to the subordinate. The customer is always right, even when they're not.

  9. Workplaces where work is monotonous/low-intensity. Idle hands are the devil's workshop. Whenever you find yourself at a boring job doing boring things, this is the perfect environment to promote hostility and harassment from your peers and/or supervisor. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do, but if possible, try to find a more rewarding job to limit this, whenever possible.

  10. Isolated workplaces. If you are isolated for whatever reason, this is the perfect opportunity for your supervisor to harass you. Remember some of my earlier posts, and be always ready for an inappropriate ass-chewing session. Take plenty of notes, whether that's on your computer, in your notepad, or with a witness present. Be careful whenever you're alone!

  11. Workplaces that encourage alcohol consumption. Consider yourself lucky if alcohol consumption isn't a coping strategy used by your workplace. This is especially a problem in the US military, but basically anywhere that makes you feel miserable without consuming alcohol is high-risk for harassment.

  12. Decentralized workspaces. Basically any companies or corporations that are far removed from your current workplace. The company has lost its personal touch, and is unable to interact with the grunts at the ground floor. Not only that, but it can also spawn a harassment-rich environment that eats away at employee satisfaction and morale.

You can feel free to read the original table from the EEOC's website that I posted previously, but I feel like this might help explain things a little bit better for people that are finding themselves scratching their heads while trying to read through the table.

I hope this post was helpful. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or additional comments. I know I have been fairly irregular with the blog posts recently, but as I'm sure you know, we all need breaks sometimes.

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