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Does hazing occur in the workplace?

When you run across hazing in the headlines, it usually involves incidents on college campuses. However, you and other Iowa residents may be interested to learn that hazing can also occur on the job, and it is more common than you might think. Workplace hazing can have devastating consequences for those who are targeted, including emotional and psychological trauma.

How does hazing happen at work? Rather than the intense physical abuse that fraternity members may inflict on new pledges, workplace hazing may be more subtle, explains LinkedIn. This doesn’t mean that corporate hazing isn’t dangerous or illegal. In fact, hazing often violates harassment and discrimination laws, and may cross the line and qualify as assault.

Are the new hires in your office traditionally given the worst tasks that nobody else wants, even if they aren’t in their job description? Is it considered a rite of passage to subject a newcomer to a humiliating prank in front of everyone else? Are new employees required or pressured to participate in activities they don’t want to do in order to be accepted, such as getting blackout drunk after work on Friday night when they would rather go home? Any of these situations could count as hazing.

The psychological damage inflicted by hazing can impact workplace productivity and result in emotional injuries, such as anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. You have the right to refuse being bullied or pressured into acts that go against your morals, violate company policy and even break the law. This is a topic that requires experienced counsel; therefore, this information is not intended to serve as legal advice.

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