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One-time events may not be harassment

Discrimination often takes the form of harassment in the workplace. It can center around your religion, gender, age or some other characteristics. Discrimination can also mean getting fired, overlooked for promotions or otherwise seeing your career get held back. However, much of the day-to-day discrimination that employees face is just harassment.

There are some gray areas within this category, however. For instance, "isolated incidents" may not count as harassment, especially if they are not too serious. These one-time events could lead to a reprimand for the employee(s) involved, but you may not have a legal case against the company.

Harassment generally indicates ongoing behavior and a hostile workplace environment. Someone may not realize how insensitive a remark is and make it one time without intending to discriminate. If they do this every day, it's clear that they are harassing you on purpose.

The trouble is that what feels serious to you may not appear serious to others. Who decides if a one-time event was bad enough to qualify as harassment all on its own? What if the other party argues that it was an honest mistake, but you don't think they're telling the truth? Does this mean that isolated incidents should be swept under the rug?

These are important questions to ask, and cases like this can get to be a bit complicated when everyone isn't on the same page. Be sure that you are well aware of your legal rights and what you can do to protect them when facing harassment and discrimination in the workplace. An experieinced attorney can provide guidance.

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