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October 01, 2014, 07:17:14 PM
HireScores.com Recruitment ForumForum CommunityGeneral stuff (Moderators: HireScores.com admin, HireScoresMark)What is considered sexual harassment at work?
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Betty
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« on: April 07, 2007, 06:11:40 AM »

I was just wondering what is actually considered sexual harassment at work.  I once had this male employee who would talk to me about girls and make sexual comments to me.  At the time, he was joking around, but it did make me a little uncomfortable. I never told anyone about it because I didn't want to cause trouble at work and I eventually left for other reasons.  However, had he kept it up, I would definitely inform upper management of his behavior.  I only wonder what they would have done, had I reported the incident.  My guess, is they'd probably talk to him and that would be all.  What do you think?  Was that sexual harassment?
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stanford
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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2007, 06:26:38 AM »

I think sexual harassment has a lot of gray areas.  If someone wants you to perform a sexual action for a favor at work, that's sexual harassment.  However, in your situation, it sounds like you were more annoyed by his remarks.  The best way to handle it would have been to confront the person and tell him it bothers you.  If he still continues to behave in the same manner, then you need to inform upper management that he is acting inappropriately and they will hopefully resolve the matter. 
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Chevy
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« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2007, 03:37:33 PM »

Most workplaces run a  training on sexual harassment or have a point person to whom you can speak about such issues. I agree that's it's a gray area, some places are so strict that anything, any comment remotely related to sexuality in any way is considered a reprimandable offense. It's sad that normal human interaction has to be monitored so closely. Don't mistake that to think I am condoning making other people uncomfortable. What I am saying is that the world we live in and the relationships we form are not asexual to the point of not acknowledging that attractions, jokes and so forth exist and it's artificial to create a place where none of that, even in its smallest and most innocent form, is allowed. 
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Betty
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2007, 08:13:00 AM »

Your right Chevy, you really need to monitor everything you say and do in the workplace.  What you consider to be harmless or in "good fun" someone else may consider it to be insulting. I must admit, I was once insulted by a guy at work who brought in a  post card of a sexy girl in her bathing suit laying on the beach.  He put this post card on top of his computer monitor so every time I went over to his cubical, there was the picture.  That's something that he should have kept at home and not in the work place.  I was really surprise that I was the only one who found it offensive.  I suppose as society changes, so does the definition of sexual harassment.
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Lisette
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2007, 08:25:05 AM »

The working definition is anything that makes you uncomfortable. The application of this does differ from country to country and there are different theories. It is a challenging this to manage as an employer and also as an employee and somehow the balance needs to be found between achieving a thoughtful and respectful approach to others and creating a stilted and uncomfortable environment.  There is also the worry that if the rules of censor become too strict you will just drive it all underground which feels worse to me (but not to everyone). 

There are some easy things and I would agree that one of them is pictures, screen savers etc ? which has the benefit of maintaining a professional work environment as well.

Generally the best approach is to talk to the person who is causing you offence (unless it is blatant and serious) since there is every likelihood that they will not be aware of this.  Equally companies should have systems in place that support both formal and informal resolution.
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MaryG
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2007, 06:14:07 PM »

One thing that I would add to this discussion is that there should be some mechanism by which employees feel comfortable to object without fear of retribution. Though most companies/organizations have such a policy in place I've seen a few incidents in which people's work environment was made so hostile after a complaint that the only recourse was to quit.
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