A safe work environment is the mainstay of positive culture in healthcare delivery organizations and hospitals. The hostility of any form can be toxic for people, and it can affect their productivity, loyalty, and well-being. Even worse, it can damage the reputation of the organization. They may even have to face embarrassing lawsuits due to negative events. Not surprisingly, hospital owners go the extra mile to check workplace harassment at all levels. They want to ensure a safe environment with a stringent policy that prevents all kinds of threats.

When running a hospital or healthcare delivery organization, you must know the different types of harassment your employees may encounter. Essentially, harassment refers to offensive behavior that leads to hostility in the organizational environment. These may come from a boss, supervisor, co-worker, patient, or vendor. The person who faces it feels threatened or uncomfortable. Let us explain the types of workplace harassment you need to protect your organization from.

Discriminatory harassment

Discrimination refers to wrongful behavior against an employee belonging to a specific class, such as their race, color, origin, gender, and background. The victim has to bear racial insults, gender-specific jokes, and derogatory comments. A male colleague displaying content degrading to women is another example of discrimination. Intolerance towards religious traditions and customs, offensive religious jokes, and disability-specific insults are some other behaviors employers need to prevent at their workplace.

Physical violence

Physical harassment entails violence or threatening behavior, and even assault in its extreme form. When someone abuses an employee physically by slapping, pushing, or punching, abuse is obvious. Damage to the hospital property by breaking, tampering, or scratching is also a violent act. The threat of physical harm to a person is another form of harassment. Employees should report such incidents at the earliest before there is serious damage.

Personal offense

A personal offense is directed towards a person rather than a class like people belonging to a specific group like religion, race, and gender. The behavior creates an intimidating environment for the victims. Some forms of personal harassment include personal humiliation, inappropriate comments, critical remarks, and offensive jokes. Commenting on someone’s demeanor, dress, or habits is another way to offend them personally.

Sexual misconduct

Sexual misconduct is one of the most common types of workplace harassment, and healthcare organizations are not an exception. Sharing pornographic content, making sexual comments, and inappropriate sexual gestures are the less explicit forms of misconduct. It becomes more explicit when someone indulges in inappropriate touching or assault. All forms of sexual misconduct are unlawful, and an employer must deal with it strictly. However, false accusations are a concern. So the accused must be given a right to sex crimes attorney legal representation to prove innocence. False accusations should not be encouraged, and strict action has to be taken against them.

Psychological damage

Besides physical forms, the psychological damage is another disconcerting problem in modern workplaces. The damage is extensive as it can affect the victim’s mental well-being. They experience negative feelings of being put down personally, professionally, or both. Even worse, the effects extend to their physical health, work productivity, and social life. Some instances of psychological damage include isolating the victim, trivializing their thoughts, and spreading rumors about them. Such incidents can lower their self-esteem and morale, causing immense mental trauma.

Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is common in healthcare organizations of all sizes, with abusive behaviors like yelling, threatening, insulting, or cursing a victim in private or public. It can be stressful and damaging if a victim has to face it repeatedly and publicly. Most times, people in powerful positions and roles use it to show their power and control to those working under them. Although it is not illegal, verbal abuse aimed at someone belonging to a specific class can be unlawful.


The use of the internet in healthcare facilities has led to a rise in cases of cyberbullying. The victim is harassed online rather than at the workplace. They often encounter threatening statements online or negative rumors on social media. Although the circumstances appear less daunting, they may have a far-reaching impact on employee confidence, reputation, and well-being. At times, larger groups in the organization bully a victim online, leading them towards a state of burnout. The worst part is that cyberbullying is hard to detect and manage. But employers can rely on robust IT policies to deal with it.

Healthcare delivery companies should do their best to prevent these forms of harassment and create a positive work environment in their organizations. After all, happy and healthy providers can deliver quality care to patients. Employees must do their bit by discouraging such behaviors by timely reporting. When both take their stands, workplaces can become safer and healthier in the long run.