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Is vacation shaming a form of workplace harassment?

On Behalf of | Sep 28, 2023 | Workplace Harassment

For many employees, taking vacations is an effective means to save themselves from burnout. Though days off are not mandatory in Ohio, many employers provide their employees with this benefit under certain circumstances.

Unfortunately, for some reason or another, some managers or coworkers shame those who take their days off, which can create an uncomfortable environment for employees.

When it takes an emotional toll on an employee

Whether vacation shaming is a form of workplace harassment may still be a gray area for some. Nonetheless, delving into the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) definition of harassment can help qualify whether the act is indeed against workplace discrimination and harassment laws.

According to the EEOC, there is harassment when either of the following circumstances is present:

  • The employee has to endure the offensive behavior to keep their job.
  • The behavior creates a working environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile or abusive.

Considering these circumstances, vacation shaming can fall under the second category. Vacation shaming involves making an employee guilty of taking their days off. If this act continues and takes an emotional toll on the employee, making their workplace feel hostile, then it can be workplace harassment.

What can a shamed employee do?

The mistreated employees have multiple avenues for their harassment concerns. Initially, they can report the behavior to the company’s HR department for investigation and proper action. If the HR department fails to address the issue properly, the employees can file legal action with the local employment rights agencies or the EEOC.

If you are unsure about your legal options and where to start, having a compassionate legal representative review your case can guide you to your next step.