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Have you experienced or witnessed abuse at work?

Over the past century, working conditions in the U.S. have come a long way. This is thanks in large part to workers banding together to force change. Despite improvements, too many workers still face abuse while at work. Often, that abuse comes at the hands of their fellow coworkers.

Abuse, in any form, and of any severity can wreak havoc on a victim's life. To put an end to workplace abuse, it's important to recognize it and its many forms. Here are just three of the ways that abuse can occur at work:

  • Discrimination: In the U.S., people are prohibited at both the federal and state levels from treating someone unfairly because of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, genetic information or other protected categories.
  • Harassment: When a person is routinely made to feel uncomfortable at work and there is a documented pattern of incidents, a case can be made for harassment. Harassment may include offensive jokes, ridicule, intimidation or sexual harassment.
  • Violence: An employee facing workplace violence has experienced an act or threat of physical harm. The act or threat can take place at work or outside of work. Victims who face the highest risk of violence include people who handle money, those who work with members of the public, who are mentally unstable or those who work in isolation.

Sadly, many abuse victims are so focused on getting through each day, or they are so afraid of the consequences, that they don't or can't take action against the abuser. In this case, it's even more important to recognize the signs of workplace abuse and find ways to get victims the help they need.

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