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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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March 14, 2012

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."

Are YOU Legally Protected?

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



  • 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:
  • American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging:
  • Federal Administration on Aging:
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)

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
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.

Thank you all for coming!!


We are hoping to see you on April 17