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Workplace Watch: How to Deal with Sexual Harassment

Woman in Office

At work, you like the closeness that develops between you and your colleagues. When workmates become friendlier with each other, work becomes more comfortable and easier. But when the usual pat on the shoulder by a colleague starts feeling more like he’s copping a feel, you should take action to protect yourself from sexual harassment.

Avoid flirting in the office. As much as you want to be friendly with your colleagues, you have to interact with everyone professionally. Some of us are natural flirts – we naturally touch people when we talk to them or sometimes we like to sweet-talk. But being friendlier than what’s necessary might cause some people to think that you want them to flirt back.

Ease up on the green jokes. Green jokes which turn out nasty should not be tolerated. React negatively to sexual harassment by stating clearly that you’re not amused, so that your officemates can try their green jokes to someone else.

Express your discomfort. Some people whom you feel are harassing you may not actually be doing it on purpose. Tell the person if a particular behavior is making you uncomfortable and make it clear that you’re not OK with it. If they do it again…

Approach HR. Most office human resource departments would have mechanisms on how to deal with sexual harassment. If you feel that a colleague perpetually goes overboard with you, then approach HR and file a complaint.

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