Sexual harassment at work has been around for centuries, yet it is still something many are uncomfortable openly speaking about. But the discomfort of speaking about it is far outweighed by the discomfort of having to suffer it.
You cannot allow someone to make you feel uncomfortable at work. Everyone has different levels of tolerance, however you do not have to tolerate bad behavior at any level. Someone talking about your body parts or what they would like to do to you is not a form of flattery, it is plain disrespect.
If this kind of talk is coming from someone superior to you in the hierarchy, and they are rude enough to say those things in your presence, then they are not truly respectful of you and the value you that you bring to the workplace ⎯ and may even affect how you progress at work. Here are three tips on handling sexual harassment at work:
Verbally let the person know that you do not like their comments and what the consequences of their actions will be if they continue. There are times when people do not realize that what they said was offensive. It is important for you to clearly voice that you find the comments offensive and will not tolerate them.
If you do not feel comfortable approaching the harasser on the spot, you can send them an email or text reminding them of what they said and be clear you will not tolerate it, and about the consequences if it continues. This can be a good method if the harassment does not stop because you have clearly noted the issue and you have it on record that you informed the person their behavior was offensive to you.
Human Resources approach
If the person was extremely disrespectful or even resorted to sexual assault ⎯ utilizing force or inappropriate touching, you may have to go directly to Human Resources. If the offender was that bold and aggressive, it may not have been their first time and someone needs to report it.
Remember it cuts both ways
It is no secret that sexual harassment and assault still happen in the workplace, despite all the corporate education programs and workshops. What you may not know is that is not only an ongoing issue for women, but men as well. In order to combat this, more people have to stand up and report the serious incidents. Do not bear the burden for someone else’s actions. They were bold enough to commit the act so they should be strong enough to deal with the consequence of their actions. The CHOICE is YOURS.