While harassment in the workplace violates the Civil Rights Act, Americans With Disabilities Act and Age Discrimination in Employment Act, employers, supervisors and colleagues may still feel like they can get away with it. Harassment makes your workplace hostile, but it can be detrimental to your mental health.
Unlawful harassment is any conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive or hostile environment.
Harassment is traumatic
Sexual harassment is common and traumatic for the victim. About 65% of women admit to facing sexual harassment and men in the military have a 10 times higher chance of becoming victims of harassment. Generally, harassment stems from hierarchical dynamics. Generally, a person in a position of power preys on a subordinate. No matter your level of power, gender or any other identifying characteristic, you have a right to experience a workplace free of harassment.
Those who experience harassment tend to have higher anxiety, eating disorders and depression. Harassment constitutes psychological and sometimes physical trauma.
Trauma seriously impacts mental health
When you undergo a traumatic event, you may find yourself unable to rely on your normal coping mechanisms. It feels as though your brain requires to focus on the traumatic event and to repeat it in your brain. Your memories may have lasting effects because you re-experience them again and again. The replays of traumatic memories may cause bouts of depression and anxiety.
Additionally, you may feel powerless and out of control. Eating disorders are a common way for people to regain control over their life. Other self-destructive behaviors may follow experiences with a hostile work environment.