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Harassment is any behavior that demeans, humiliates or embarrasses a person, and that a reasonable person should have known would be unwelcome. It includes actions (e.g. touching, pushing), comments (e.g. jokes, name-calling), or displays (e.g. posters, cartoons). Sexual harassment includes offensive or humiliating behaviour that is related to a person's sex, as well as behavior of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, unwelcome, hostile, or offensive work environment, or that could reasonably be thought to put sexual conditions on a person's job or employment opportunities. Abuse of authority occurs when a person uses authority unreasonably to interfere with an employee or the employee's job. It includes humiliation, intimidation, threats, and coercion.
Employers can be held legally responsible for harassment in their workplaces. Courts may impose penalties on the employer and the manager, even if neither of them was involved in the harassment. An organization that does nothing to prevent harassment, therefore, may well find itself facing serious financial and legal consequences.