Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Harassment Definition:

Unsolicited words or conduct which tend to annoy, alarm or abuse another person.

Related Terms: Sexual Harassment, Criminal Harassment, Hostile Work Environment, Deliberate Indifference

Scene depicting Workplace Sexual Harassment

Unsolicited words or conduct which tend to annoy, alarm or abuse another person.

An excellent alternate definition can be found in Ontario's Human Rights Code as:

"... a course of vexatious comment or conduct that is known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome."

Other jurisdictions prefer to offer a fuller description of conduct that is harassing in law.

In New Zealand's Harassment Act of 1997, the prohibited conduct is described as follows:

"A person harasses another person if he or she engages in a pattern of behaviour that is directed against that other person, being a pattern of behaviour that includes doing any (of the following) specified act(s) to the other person on at least 2 separate occasions within a period of 12 months:

  • Watching, loitering near, or preventing or hindering access to or from, that person's place of residence, business, employment, or any other place that the person frequents for any purpose;
  • Following, stopping, of accosting that person;
  • Entering, or interfering with, property in that person's possession;
  • Making contact with that person (whether by telephone, correspondence, or in any way);
  • Giving offensive material to that person, of leaving it where it will be found by, given to, or brought to the attention of, that person;(and)
  • Acting in any other way that causes that other person to fear for his or her safety; and that would cause a reasonable person in (those) particular circumstances to fear for his or her safet

Name-calling ("stupid", or "dummy") is a common form of harassment.

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