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WELCOME ALL!. FREE FROM HARASSMENT March 14, 2012. Part 1 – Introduction. How do we define harassment?. Merriam and Webster : a) to annoy persistently b) to create an unpleasant or hostile situation, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

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Welcome all


Welcome all


March 14, 2012

Part 1 introduction

Part 1 – Introduction

How do we define harassment

How do we define harassment?

  • Merriam and Webster: a) to annoy persistently b) to create an unpleasant or hostile situation, especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

  • Wikipedia: covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature.

Typical characteristics of harassment

Typical characteristics of harassment

  • Intentional

  • Verbal or physical

  • Disturbing

  • Repetitive

  • Usually done by people close to you

Key words to define harassment

Key words to define harassment

Emotional or physical threat

Unsolicited control over the victim

Using power to create fear

Individual can be targeted because of

Individual can be targeted because of

  • Gender / Sexual orientation / Gender identity

  • Race Ethnicity

  • Religious affiliation

  • Class

  • Size

  • Physical/mental ability

Forms that harassment can take

Forms that harassment can take

  • Put-downs

  • Social exclusion

  • Unwanted sexual propositions/touching

  • Teasing

  • Spreading of rumors/gossip

  • Threatening written communication

  • Rude Gestures

  • Hate-based comments

  • Display of sexually explicit materials

Some examples

Some examples

Landlord – tenant

Teacher – student

Employer – employee

Caregiver – children/ seniors

Parents – children (vice versa)

How to identify harassment

How to identify harassment?

  • Difficult to identify if it’s not physical.

  • Trust your instincts.

  • See if it’s done on a regular basis.

  • Sexual harassment and harassment at workplace are the most common ones, therefore easier to identify.

Can we speak of u nintentional harassment when it comes to older people

Can we speak of unintentional harassment when it comes to older people?

  • Scenario: Adult children who serve as caregiver for their parents have other responsibilities such as work, kids, spousal relationship management, friends etc. Due to lack of time, money or physical proximity, they might unintentionally harass their parents.

Dilemma of the sandwich generation

Dilemma of the sandwich generation

  • DC-area resident Jackie Eyl, 45, is caring for her 77-year-old mother in New York. Jackie, who has two children and feels constantly worried about her mom’s health.

  • Jackie: "I would lie up at night and wonder-'Which catastrophic event will it be? Will she wander out of her house and get lost, or get hit by a car? Will she leave the oven on? Will she forget to eat one day, starve?' I was a nervous wreck."

Welcome all

Part 2 – New York Laws

Welcome all

Are YOU Legally Protected?

Exploring legal rights in the U.S. and New York State

Welcome all


  • FIRST federal initiative.

  • The United States Congress passed the Older Americans Act in 1965 in response to concern by policymakers about a LACK of comprehensive services for older persons.

The age discrimination in employment act of 1967

This law forbids employment discrimination against anyone at least 40 years of age in the United States.

It includes a broad ban against age discrimination and specifically prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotions, wages, termination of employment and denial of benefits to older employees.

Since 1978, it has also prohibited mandatory retirement in most sectors.


Harassment laws in ny state


  • In New York, harassment is a crime with a possible penalty of imprisonment.

  • Second-degree harassment is when someone applies physical force to another person. The defendant must have the intent to harass.

  • First-degree harassment results in the victim having reasonable fear of physical injury based on the actions of the defendant.

Ny penal law


  • New York Penal law for harassment and offenses includes the definition of age as sixty years old or more. This shows the inclusion of elders in the state legal system.

The dos

The DOs

  • Maintain close ties with family, relatives and the community.

  • KNOW your legal rights and take advantage of federal and state resources.

  • Recognize the many forms of mistreatment and harassment.

  • Explore alternative sources of reliable and honest long-term care, if applicable.

  • Provide training for service providers and gatekeepers.

  • Contact the local county department of social services and adult protective services FIRST.

The don ts

The DON'Ts

  • Do not ignore signs of harassment in the community because you are not related to the suspected victim.

  • Do not neglect reporting suspected harassment for fear of financial or legal responsibility.

Legal resource


  • Title III-B attorneys provide legal assistance nationwide on issues such as protective services, defense of guardianship, abuse, neglect and age discrimination. Assistance is often targeted towards those in social and economic need.



  • New York State Aging Agency:http://www.nysegov.com/citGuide.cfm?superCat=82&cat=388&content=main

  • American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging:http://www.americanbar.org/groups/law_aging/resources/links_of_interest.html

  • Federal Administration on Aging:http://www.aoa.gov/AoARoot/AoA_Programs/Elder_Rights/index.aspx

Welcome all

Part 3– Workplace and home harassment

Workplace harassment

Workplace Harassment

Increasingly prominent issue and an area best protected by the law (Why? Because the State benefits if older people are protected in the workplace)

More older people are working

More older people are working.

The trend started to rise in the late 1990s

The trend: started to rise in the late 1990s.

And will continue to rise

And will continue to rise.

Back to the age discrimination in employment act of 1967

Back to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

  • 40 years or older

  • Forbids discrimination in aspects of employment

  • Forbids harassment

  • Even if a company policy applies to everyone, it could still be discriminatory if it unreasonably disadvantages older employees.

Harassment by caregivers

Harassment by caregivers

15% of elder abuse centered on emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse.

Of alleged perpetrators of elder abuse, 33% were adult children, 22% were other other family members; 16% were strangers, and 11% were spouses/intimate partners. (Teaster, National Center on Elder Abuse, 2006).

Scenario what if you cannot assert yourself caregiver family case

Scenario: what if you cannot assert yourself? – caregiver/family case

  • What would you suggest?

  • Protective Services for Adults?

  • Familial ties could mean denial or feelings of guilt

  • Lack of perceivable alternatives

Welcome all

Part 4 – Empowerment

Empowering yourself

Empowering yourself

  • Age makes older persons more vulnerable because they become less independent and often have to rely on someone.

  • Relationships with the care giver can be tense, especially if it’s a family member.

  • To avoid tensions due to last minute decisions, older people should plan ahead while they can.

  • Communicating with children and relatives to make sure everyone understands what the situation will be like when the older person becomes dependent.

  • Having a trial period can be a way of making sure the care giver is able to provide proper attention.

What are older people s options

What are older people’s options?

Being taken care of by family members is not the only option and sometimes there are better solutions for everyone that can be explored while the older person can:

  • Retirement communities

  • Retirement homes

  • Wills – Where I am going to live if I become dependent? Who will be in charge of me? What will happen to my belongings?

  • Any other suggestions?

How to fight harassment

How to fight harassment?

  • Recognizing harassment from bad mood (for example) is the first step.

  • Victims of harassment should not be ashamed because they are not at fault! Talking about the situation is the first thing to do – family, care givers, friends and doctors can help.

  • Stand up for yourself. Make it clear that you don’t accept being bullied.

  • If the conflict can’t be resolved through mediation, then legal action can be considered.

Welcome all

Thank you all for coming!!


We are hoping to see you on April 17

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