Unwanted advances and overtly sexual language in the office can be tough to deal with. In some cases, unwanted romantic gestures, lewd comments, or even jokes are sexual harassment, and as a result these actions carry some serious penalties. WorkplaceFairness.org explains what you can do if you’re experiencing what you believe is sexual harassment at your place of work.
While you may want to ignore unwanted advances because of the discomfort they cause, it’s important the harasser knows they are unwelcome. Even innocently joking and flirting could be construed as consenting behavior, so make sure you address each separate incident with a firm no. In clear language demand that the harasser stop. If this doesn’t stop the harassment, you’ll need to move on to the next step.
Nearly all workplaces have a process in place for reporting harassment. Consult your employee handbook and use the steps listed there to make your complaint if the harassment continues after your first efforts. If there is no policy, write down the details of all the incidents and provide them to your supervisor or another person in a position of authority. Also, keep a copy of the document for your own records.
If others were witness to the harassment or even victims of it themselves, speak with them about filing a complaint of their own. You’ll need to build a solid case against your harasser and witness testimony goes a long way in this regard. These people should also supply written documentation on the harassment, including the date and time it occurred, as well as what happened. If you’re having problems coping with the harassment emotionally, talk with friends and family about the issue.