Should You Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

This week, The Simple Dollar attempts to address challenging questions in personal finance by looking at both sides of the story and figuring out some of the factors you need to look at to make a decision.

Sexual harassment is a serious issue and can cause some serious workplace tensions and problems. I’ve witnessed two incidents of what I would call sexual harassment in the workplace, but interestingly, neither one was the stereotypical “man harassing woman” often seen in popular culture. In one incident, a woman was harassing a man – in the other, a woman was harassing another woman.

In both cases, it created a very poisonous environment at work, where one key member of the team was obviously upset and distracted by the behavior of another. The effects of the harassment weren’t just limited to one person – it affected all of us.

The question is, if you’re harassed, should you report it to a supervisor? There are strong reasons on both sides of the fence, and it’s one worth looking at in detail.

Yes!

In a workplace environment, no one should expect or have to tolerate sexual behavior towards them. It’s completely out of bounds of appropriate behavior and can result in severe discomfort of the harassed. It should not be tolerated and needs to be directly eliminated at the source.

It’s not just the harassed individual, either: sexual harassment is a behavior which poisons the entire workplace. The tension that exists between the harasser and the harassed boils over into other relationships, the gossip mill at work starts churning, and the productivity of the entire environment can fall because of it.

Sexual harassment needs to be nipped hard in the bud, and the most effective way of doing that is to put administrative pressure on the situation. It needs to become extremely clear to the harasser that such behavior is not tolerated, and the most effective way to do that is from above.

No!

In a modern office environment, candor and openness and the willingness to express ideas are vital to creating a forward-thinking working environment. Sometimes, this openness leads individuals to feel quite comfortable and occasionally make statements or comments that are outside of the comfort zone of others.

Responding to such comments or behaviors with an immediate response from above does nothing more than damage that openness and candor. Suddenly, everyone starts being much more careful about what they say and the open exchange of ideas quickly slows down. I’ve witnessed it happen before – an open environment can become very tense very fast once administrative people start bandying about statements about harassment and placing people on probation because they chose to speak their mind or their feelings.

That’s not to say that such behavior should be accepted, but two professionals can usually discuss such incidents between themselves and defuse the situation without destroying the collaborative openness of a healthy and creative office environment. Harassment situations are generally best handled between the people directly involved and do not have to spill over into the greater environment.

My Take

If inappropriate behavior makes you feel deeply uncomfortable in the workplace, you should do something about it. Having said that, I really don’t believe that the first step should be to report sexual harassment up the food chain. Instead, the best response is to tackle it individually with the harasser – and don’t make threats about it, either. Just simply ask them to cool it because the behavior is bothering you.

In both cases I mentioned at the start of this article, I basically encouraged the harassed to not report it and instead have a serious talk with the person harassing them – in both cases, the problem was defused and in one of the cases the two later became friends once they became comfortable with each other’s style.

Obviously, if that tactic doesn’t work, you may need to escalate it, but remember that there are often social consequences to reporting someone for their behavior, particularly in an open environment where people generally feel that they can talk freely. You will lose candor if you do this unless the person’s behavior is so outrageous that it’s genuinely bothering a lot of people in the office.

Fortunately, most people are civil enough to realize that a stern “just cool it” means just that – they’re better off just backing away and letting it be. Thus, you shouldn’t have to escalate the situation most of the time.

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46 thoughts on “Should You Report Sexual Harassment in the Workplace?

  1. Trent, I am glad you are advising the more pragmatic approach of dealing with such issues on a 1v1 basis first before immediate escalation.

    Oftentimes, sexual harassment is a very subjective matter and should be dealt in a more subjective low key matter by raising the issue directly with the harasser first before bringing it to the attention of the higher ups. I think this approach will usually put a quick stop to it but if it continues unabated, then it might need to be brought to the attention of those in charge.
    -R

  2. 60 in 3 - Fitness and Health says:

    It’s a judgement call. In general, you should probably take it up with the offending party before making it official. They may not understand the issue or there may be a misunderstanding. I work in a company where many of the people are from outside the US. Customs inevitably clash at some point but are usually resolved rather well just by talking. Just pause for a second after hearing something you think is offensive. Think about why the other person might have said it, what their background is and what they might have intended by it. That usually works for me.

    In some other cases, you should just take it to HR immediately because the harassment is blatant and intentional. These cases are thankfully the minority in my experience.

    Gal

  3. Mary says:

    From a feminist perspective, sexual harassment should NEVER be tolerated. But there are steps you can take, before reporting to a supervising body or police, that can, in many situations, be very effective,

    1) Write a letter to your harasser. This can be much more effective than asking someone verbally to stop, since it can be less confrontational, a much more “objective” rather than emotional point of view, and the harassed individual cannot be cut off, intimidated or threatened while relaying the wish to cease the harassment, since it is pretty difficult to intimidate a piece of paper. The letter should have three parts:
    1) a description of the harassment, written as objectively as possible, setting the scene (location, date, time, etc) and describing exactly what happened using proper terminology (ie, “you put your hand on my breast”).
    2)How the actions made you feel (“I felt demeanded and insulted by your behavior”)
    3) How you wish to proceed (“I want you to stop making any sexual remarks about me or making any comment on my appearance”), which may or may not include legal steps you wish to take should the abuse continue.
    More on this at http://www.adm.uwaterloo.ca/infocmahro/writingalettertoaharasser.html
    Studies on the psychology of abusers says that they often view their harassment as “harmless” or “just a joke”, but in actuality, the law says that it does not matter whether the abuser was intending to be abusive or not– if actions are perceived as harassment, then that makes it harassment.

    Also keep a written log of all instances of harassment, regardless of whether you feel it is a “one-time” thing or not. This only takes a few minutes and can be invaluable in the case that the abuse escalates and you wish to take legal action or take the issue to a supervising body. Telling someone else (like a friend or spouse outside the workplace) can provide additional alibi later on.

    I’m sorry Trent, I love your blog and a lot of what you write, but I feel (and you may very well agree) that it is purely an opinion piece, without any substantive research or experience. To ask the question “should you report harassment to your supervisor” denies the extremely relevant issue of, what if your harasser IS your supervisor? Sexual harassment usually isn’t about sex- it is about power and domination, as a way to assert that power.

  4. Enric says:

    I think that sexual harassment at work is more than just simple and plain ‘bad behaviour’. If left unreported or untackled, it may lead to really worst situations, as the harasser may think his or her behaviour is ‘allowed’. My take is quite similar to Trent’s: Dialogue. Talk to the harasser first and then, if it doesn’t work immediately, don’t hesitate in going up the food chain. But never, never, let it be. If dialogue is impossible, consider legal actions. Sexual harassment is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.

  5. MoneyNing says:

    I might not report the unethical behavior in general but I will probably try to find a way to talk to the victim and see if he/she feels uncomfortable with this. I would encourage him/her to report it.

  6. Rebecca says:

    Another thing, unfortunately, that has to be considered when deciding whether or not to report sexual harassment is the “whistleblower” factor. A lot of company environments don’t reward people who rock the boat, and reporting sexual harassment isn’t any exception. The negative reactions for filing a complaint can come from folks above the filer or on his/her level, with everything from “oh come on, it’s not that bad, why did you have to bring the brass into it?” to “cripes, you just made more work for me!” to “great, now I need to worry about a lawsuit”. This is even more of a reason to try to deal with the situation on a one-on-one basis, privately, and only escalate if needed.

  7. Trent says:

    Mary, you’re basically saying that dialogue shouldn’t be used, and I have to strongly agree with that. You’re jumping straight into escalation because of what may be what the other party simply thinks of as candor – and the end result of that is a very abrupt end to a productive and open work environment.

  8. Amy says:

    I have huge issues with the way you set up this question – as though openness and candor are in conflict with an environment free of sexual harassment. I worked in an office where numerous harassing statements were directed at various employees by a small group of people, and then excused by management and co-workers as “we’re friends! We can joke around and say what we really think!”

    The result absolutely was not an open and candid environment. The result was a few loudmouths making a good portion of the office uncomfortable, and everyone else unwilling to open their mouths for fear of saying something that would open them to abuse or ridicule.

    There is no redeeming value whatsoever in creating an environment where people feel it’s ok to say hurtful, demeaning, sexually explicit things.

  9. Heather says:

    I think that there should probably be a distinction between an incident and harassment, which is usually sustained. I would not feel tolerant of either, but my approach to dealing with them would differ. Perhaps nobody likes whistle blowers but whether one can continue to be effective at work and whether it is distracting after work hours are considerations as well. Someone that feels disempowered by the harassment may not be able to go directly to the person, in which case reporting may be a more viable option. Obviously recommended action ought to be based on a variety of factors.

  10. Ron says:

    The irony is that in another country, what we would consider harassment is perfectly acceptable.

    Try doing business in Mexico! It would blow your mind.

    I think sexual harassment is terrible and I would NEVER want my daughters or my wife to be subjected to it. The problem I have with our current legal setup is that it doesn’t take into account intent. If you MURDER someone, intent is considered. If you tell an off color joke, you’re toast.

  11. Ellen says:

    If I were sexually harassed by someone in my office, the one thing I would NOT want to do is get in any kind of one-on-one situation with that person. If you feel discomfort extreme enough to report an incident of harassment, how are you going to be able to face getting into a situation where such a thing could easily happen again–only this time, without any witnesses? That’s a great way to alienate a female underling who is being harassed by her male superior and make her feel like she has no place in the office — that she should just shut up and be a good girl.

  12. Johanna says:

    I think it’s important to realize that sexual harrassment can take many forms, and an appropriate response to one form may not be ideal for other forms.

    For me personally, if one of my coworkers was behaving in a way that was intimidating to me, I’d feel a lot more comfortable talking to HR about it than talking to my coworker. Ideally, it would then be HR’s job to come up with a way of resolving the conflict that would keep our department running as smoothly as possible.

    The recommendation of dialogue as the best course of action across the board almost makes it sound like sexual harrassment is something where the harrasser and the harrassee need to both give a little and come to a compromise, rather than a situation where the harrasser is entirely in the wrong and the harrassee is entirely in the right. That may be true of a few borderline cases that are the result of genuine misunderstanding – but not usually, I don’t think, and certainly not always.

  13. viv says:

    I am surprised how lame is the arguement on not to report sexual harassment.

    “… candor and openness and the willingness to express ideas are vital to creating a forward-thinking working environment …”

    Basically all about accommodating loosers in our forward thinking workplace.

  14. guinness416 says:

    If dialogue were the only answer there would be a (large?) number of people willing suffer in silence rather than face up to the offender, whether bullying or harassment is the issue. Taking it to a supervisor is absolutely acceptable as a first step. That’s why managers are paid more, to manage anything up to and including “a very poisonous environment”. And Amy above makes a great point very well.

  15. Diane says:

    I think pretty much any woman over the age of 14 has been sexually harassed at least a dozen times. Sometimes it is just harmless idiotic horseplay and other times, not so. When I was 19 I got a job in a retail store where the boss was a 60 year old coot who was lecherous to boot. He would corner me in the back room at least twice a day. It was really ridiculous. Finally I got wind of the fact that he was harassing young girls at several of the other chain stores. We all got together and complained to HIS boss who was just another old pervert but it did put an end to it.

  16. Meg says:

    I agree with Diane that sexual harassment in its most pure definition (“any comments/actions/jokes that make you feel uncomfortable, intimidated, or offended”) does happen all the time. Women usually get used to it at a young age and learn different ways of dealing with it–often characterized by whatever their developmental stage was when they were first harassed.

    Some people internalize their feelings and suffer in silence (and may not ever characterize it as “suffering”). Others learn to keep it in check on their own with a witty response or comeback. Some whine to superiors at the first sign of any borderline conduct.

    All of these responses can be appropriate at times, given the situation. And all can be very inappropriate. It totally depends, and everyone’s perspective is different, which is why this is such a challenging and complex issue.

  17. 3bean says:

    “..but remember that there are often social consequences to reporting someone for their behavior, particularly in an open environment..”

    I think anyone who has been harassed knows this. That’s why most harassment goes unreported.

    I can only speak from my experience as a female, so I’ll make my next sentence specific to women:
    If you’re getting harassed at work and you’re a woman, you’re probably not valued highly or seen as an equal. Sexual harrassment is indicative of a big problem. Don’t let fear of losing candor prohibit you from speaking up. Yes, speak to the harasser first, but Trent’s assessment that “most people are civil enough to realize that a stern “just cool it” means just that” sounds anecdotal.

  18. Tim says:

    sit back and enjoy it, because they are just telling you how good looking you are. It’s rather flattering and I like the attention. The butt grabbing feels rather good…alas, they normally don’t do it long enough to get a real massage out of it.

    i’m all for resolving things at the lowest level. If it doesn’t work, continue up, ensuring you are recording the history of events. If no love (sorry for the pun…is it really a pun?), then slam hard and fast (again sorry for the pun…is it really a pun?).

    if the situation is immediately serious to the point where you can’t exhaust the normal course, then again slam hard and fast.

    SA has no place, but I have seen both men and women use sexuality in the workplace and immediately call foul. That too should not be tolerated.

  19. Carrie says:

    When I was sexually harassed, sternly asking the guy to cool it made him harass me more. He kept asking me out and pressuring me to give him my phone number. I told him no constantly and he wouldn’t let up. When I told him that his suggestive comments were not ok with me, he started embarassing me by commenting on my body to customers and saying even more lewd things. He wasn’t accidentally being inappropriate, he was trying to demonstrate that he was more powerful than me.
    Based on my experience, Trent’s characterization of what constitutes sexual harassment is really incorrect.
    Should you tell higher-ups? Depends on whether you think they’ll support you. My boss told me that since this guy was a temporary employee I should just wait it out. That taught me a lot about how seriously people take sexual harassment.

  20. plonkee says:

    I think that there is something to be said for trying to resolve things off the record first.

    On the other hand, if it was sexual harassment to the point at which I felt uncomfortable, I probably wouldn’t be able to confront the individual concerned.

  21. Jesse says:

    plonkee: The solution to that would be that you find someone you DO trust, hopefully neutral, and have them attend with you.

    I would also mention that sometimes they don’t realize that their behavior has been construed as harassment, especially if you take teasing and joking well. But even when you do, if you ever feel in any way uncomfortable (even if you considered that person a friend before), you DO have the right to speak to that person. Perhaps something just went over the line, but nipping it in the bud can help save a friendship that might have otherwise gone south.

    Finding a neutral party (especially one that both of you trust not to disclose the issue) can be helpful, as I mentioned before, because it can give a person the confidence to speak on the subject without feeling put-off or “silly” (especially since if it was harmless, they’ll try to blow it off), and legitimize the issue (your being uncomfortable with them).

    And finally, if it can’t be resolved with your one-on-one discussion, you have the neutral third party as “proof” that you’ve taken actions to try and settle the issue. This can help your case if the offender won’t let it go.

  22. Baker says:

    I think what started as a good idea has been so twisted to where people are scared what they say could be taken out of context. Jokes are jokes, and if your offended by random things it shouldn’t result in a lawsuit.

    The legal definition of harassment; the act of systematic and/or continued unwanted and annoying actions of one party or a group, including threats and demands.

    One incident, one joke should not be immediately taken to management, because it is NOT harassment.

    Though in the case of physical contact obviously its a different thing

  23. I agree that this is a judgment call. I work in a very male-dominated industry but I am very comfortable working and dealing with men. In fact, I’m much more comfortable talking shop with men than I do women — since college and getting an engineering degree, it’s always been that way. So part and parcel of my environment has been to deal with “locker room” talk on occasion. I think that when sexual harrasment does occur, then it is obvious. In those cases, and it is honestly bothering me and those around me, I will possibly say something about it. I am thankful I have not been placed in such a position although I have one time been in the midst of harrasment that ultimately got resolved on its own. It is difficult to say something when the person in power is the one doing the “evil deeds” because people are typically afraid of saying anything to jeopardize their jobs. It’s really a tough call — when do you take the risk of being a “whistleblower”? Especially if the harrasment is totally subjective and only happening to you? Tough call, and sadly, in many cases, people just leave their jobs and don’t take a stand.

  24. Trent — I just realized my comment had a misspelling of the word “harassment”. My apologies for that!
    -SVB

  25. BigRed says:

    My take on this: we have no concept of how to interact socially anymore. Some of this has to do with the “casual workplace” attitude–to some folks, work is like high school with a paycheck every two weeks, and they behave in the ways they did back in school. The jocks run the joint, the brains put on their blinders and work (or occasionally come up with elaborate pranks to tweak the alphas), the joiners join, the beautiful people preen. Maybe this is the result of 60 hour workweeks–you are in the same location so long, that you can’t maintain the front that you normally can in, say, church or synagogue or at the theatre or a business meeting with clients you want to impress.

    Not that I’m interested in returning to the bad old days, but if you read Jane Austen or pretty much any contemporary social commentary from a century or two ago, there are very clear examples of what was acceptable flirtation/verbal repartee and what would result in a duel at 20 paces with your seconds nearby. We’ve lost that ability to self-regulate socially.

    I love funning around with my colleagues too, but I try to at least be aware when I am making someone uncomfortable (silence, downcast eyes, the kind of laugh that means “Please shut up now”). If you aren’t merely enjoying the sound of your own voice, it is pretty obvious. And, this only applies to people who are bumbling into it unawares. There are jerks who like to exercise power over subordinates, and they harass the same gender employees in different ways. The same guys who mack on the women in the workplace are also the ones who elbow teammates as well as opponents in “friendly” workplace games of pick-up.

    The funniest part is watching them get knocked down by their superiors, but maybe that is ultimately part of the problem…

  26. Johanna says:

    @Baker: why do you think it is appropriate to tell a sexually demeaning joke in the workplace, even once?

  27. guinness416 says:

    Baker, Trent’s not referring to one joke in his post. He specifically says “a very poisonous environment at work”. That’s absolutely the business of management.

    I have a high tolerance for boys-will-be-boys behaviour and a filthy sense of humour – at the pub or outside of the office. I’ve also worked in the construction industry all of my professional career, and have often been the only woman on site or in the boardroom. And even in these environments, sexually charged or demeaning jokes would be considered completely unprofessional and immature by myself and my male colleagues. Work is work.

  28. Marsha says:

    I cannot accept that there’s a serious argument to be made for not reporting sexual (or any) harassment at work. Yes, human resources will suggest the “victim” try to talk things over with the harasser – BUT they whole point of reporting policies and the law is that (a) it shouldn’t be the victim’s responsibility to work things out; and (b) the victim is usually not in a position of power to have any influence over the perpetrator.

    Having worked in human resources, I’ll tell you that most of the time, if there’s a harassment complaint against someone, there’s been multiple similar complaints against that person.

    I can’t imagine trying to make a similar argument for racial harassment – suggesting that the minority employee should just try to “talk things out.” Bigotry and discrimination is serious and seriously harmful.

    It is my guess that people who advocate talking it out have never experienced harassment. :( JMO

  29. Ellen says:

    Baker, the trouble with your argument is that anyone who says something offensive can back up and go “Oh come on, don’t you have a sense of humor?” If you’re offended by something in a workplace environment, it’s not your fault because you’re an uptight prude.

  30. Jane says:

    Like Digerati life and guiness I work in a male dominated field, Law Enforcement and so I basically live in a “locker room.” The biggest “issue” I have with your sexual harassment solution is that there are many “manifestations” of it. You have the grey area off color jokes or commentsthat may not offened everyone that come up because often the people we work with are not just coworkers but friends (or the jocker may think they are talking more to a friend). It’s this area where your solution will work. A coworker asking you out or complimenting you a few times is also not what I would consider harassment. It’s no longer taboo to date someone you work with. Again this could be stoped in theory with a “I’m not interested” conversation maybe. In reality, I don’t consider these to areas to be harassment UNTIL after something is said because that may be all it takes to stop.

    However, if the jokes or comments don’t stop that is another situation. Also a boss trying to take advantage of an employee and cornering them in a stock room is a completely different situation, the same with inapproite touching. Both of these situations would have me going up the chain of command right away. It’s funny you don’t hear a lot about the last in Law Enforcement, I guess it’s because we all have guns and from less than three feet away you will not miss even if you are aiming a little south of center of mass.

  31. I’m really disappointed with this post.

    Employers have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for all employees and that includes freedom from all harassment and any resulting confidentiality issues and “social consequences”.

    If people do not want to report harassment of any kind that is one thing, actively encouraging people to not report it is potentially irresponsible. The best response is not necessarily to tackle the issue with the harasser. It is another option available to the person being harassed. It may be the best response under certain circumstances – comments on this post have highlighted the broad scope of this issue – but it is not the best response in all cases.

    Everybody knows the law and larger companies will ensure all employees are aware of the company policy regarding sexual harassment. When it comes down to it, we need to take responsibility for our own actions, and if those actions – however misunderstood – breach a law or company policy, we have to be prepared to face the consequences.

  32. Allen says:

    All,

    At the company I work for, other then for physical touching, i.e. ‘groping’, the policy states that the ‘harassor’ must understand that his/her actions are offensive in order for it to be harassment. They can be told by the ‘harassee’, or a third person, or Human Resources.

    As a low level supervisor, I once had to investigate claims of sexual harassment. After talking to several witnesses, the supposed victim, and the supposed harassor, I realized the supposed victim was delusional (as confirmed by witnesses). In fact, the supposed victim was the only one that actually performed any sort of sexual harassment!

    The real problem was the supposed victim really, truly thought they were being harassed!

  33. This partial sentence leaves my skin a bit crawly:

    “Obviously, if that tactic doesn’t work, you may need to escalate it, but remember that there are often social consequences to reporting someone for their behavior [...]”

    Although factually true, the way this is presented almost makes the case for “oh, just keep quiet about it or you’ll ruin it for the rest of us”. I’m hoping I’m reading this wrong.

    I have been in situations where I had to take it up the chain (supervisor was doing the harassing), and other times where a simple but stern “please don’t do that” took care of the issue (guy deliberately leaning up against me). We can legislate all we want, but it takes time for culture to shift. It is only by being open and working with these issues that we’ll get them to change.

  34. reporter says:

    Being a pilot in a man’s world for 30 years finally brought me to the harassment issue. No one had ever pushed a door open. I was approached by the person with whom I had flown for over 2 years. He did this not once, but twice in a 24 hour period after being told to NEVER say anything like that to me again the first time. He did it again. I documented it immediately,sat on it for 3 days, and finally reported it. He was not drinking this time, but what if he had been?

    The company has left him in on the job and kicked me around ever since. You would think he would have been removed from the aircraft. It has now been 10 months. This company tolerance has to stop. I am not the perpetrator here. They have to understand it is illegal. NO means NO.

  35. Me says:

    From personal experience, don’t report sexual harassment. There is no justice and it just ruins your career.

  36. Joel says:

    Sexual harassment, rape and child molestation are all rooted in power and the victims do not do anything to cause the predator to attack.

    http://sexualharassment-alltruth.blogspot.com/

    http://joel031.vox.com/

  37. Laura says:

    At the moment, I’m being subjected to sexual harassment from a guy from another race at work & finally got the courage after months, to report him. I told him I think of him as a workfriend, but he still keeps making verbal passes/propositions me & making subtle physical passes at me.

  38. AGoodGerman says:

    There is a reason that sexual harassment is called sexual HARASSMENT. I am quite shocked that most people (including Trent) appear to think that it is something one can discuss about or something that’s ‘subjective’.
    Hey Trent, you wanna come over and suck my…?
    How subjective is that? But hey, don’t report me, because that would hurt the climate at our workplace.

  39. AGoodGerman says:

    P.S.: I seriously think Trent should delete that nonsense and unethical blog entry altogether. It’s one of those typical mindless “Oh, I’m a successful blogger, so my opinion on everything, regardless how stupid, must be important and put out there.”-entries.

  40. Todd says:

    I’m always amazed at how even some educated men suddenly lose all intelligence when sexual harassment comes up. All of a sudden, it’s all so complex and full of gray areas and subjective. Who makes it to adulthood today without having heard about sexual harassment? I don’t know anyone who honestly is clueless that someone might be offended if they talk about a woman’s anatomy at work. If they do it, it’s because they’re choosing to do it, and they want to show that they are in control and don’t have to follow anyone else’s “PC” rules or consider anyone else’s feelings over their own. But if they are called on it, you can see the fake “plunging IQ” trick–”What? I didn’t know you couldn’t take a joke. I honestly didn’t know that anyone would find that offensive. I thought we were all just bonding.”

    Bull. As a man, I hate the pretense that some men have that many women are just sitting around waiting to accuse someone of sexual harassment, and as a nice guy they’ll just innocently fall into the trap while they were “just trying to be nice and compliment her on her nice ****” or telling a joke that “I thought everyone would find funny.” They know exactly what they’re doing and they don’t want anyone coming around with this “PC crap” telling them what they can and cannot do–especially a woman!

    Everyone around such people, especially others of the same gender or rank, should have the guts to send a clear message through their reactions that they are not funny and their comments are not appreciated.

  41. LauraH. says:

    Listen, Todd… do you hear that? That’s the sound of thousands of workers and managers of both genders standing up and clapping. It blows my mind that people act like being professional in the workplace is some sort of novel concept. Work is not a singles meet-up, nor is it a fishing trip, nor is it the 4chan message board, and maybe it would make sense not to use it as a chance to “bond,” make with the hot lovin’, or make degrading comments about other peoples’ physiques. To do so bespeaks, at the very least, poor organizational (“a place for everything”) and interpersonal skills— not what I am looking for at any level in my organization.

    As to whether or not one should report harassment, although the plural of anecdotes is not “proof,” I personally have regretted not going to my supervisor and asking advice, rather than sitting and fuming. Your mileage, of course, may vary, but I imagine most good managers would want to know if there is a problem. Isn’t that what managers are for— to facilitate solving problems that interfere with your ability to do your job with maximum efficiency? A happy employee with a good work ethic is able to put far more into his or her work than one made miserable by his or her co-workers.

    My two cents, but pennies aren’t worth the zinc they’re printed on these days.

  42. kevin says:

    Sexual Harassment is bad no one should do it.

  43. misti says:

    I believe sexual harassment is not good and it is embarassing to be harassed.

  44. kana says:

    Sexual harrasment is another subtle form of rape or sexual assault but verbally not physical..being a parent of a child victim of a sexual crime I’m appauld we still live in a society of non connection as humans and feel as if one does not matter only someones personal gratification of hurting others for their own gain. When will as humans stop being victims and instead stand for our beliefs and personal morales. Especially as woman we need to stand up be proud of our gender and remember we are all someones daughter, sister, mother or just a Woman who deserves RESPECT!!

  45. Jeni says:

    I am at the crossroads of dealing with my manager’s sexual harrassment… I work for Citi Bank…I need my job .. I haven’t reported him because that’s drama and feel that I will lose my job in the process… Come to find out he has been under allegations of sexual harrassment twice before & they just move him to a different area… How is it that a major Corp like Citi bank would take that kind of risk? Doesn’t that make them (citi) responsible?

  46. Lucy says:

    It is not just Citi Bank. At Research In Motion it is considered completely accepted by the male dominated staff members that they have the right to sexually harass women working there. I know quite a few people that work there and have heard many of there horror stories. One friend of mine made a harassment complaint against one of her colleagues and the boys club proceeded to taunt her further till members of the managing board also harassed her blatantly in front of all of the staff members. Another friend was actually seeking medical assistance from all the abuse that she had endured whilst working for them. HR are fully aware of these stories however do nothing to protect the rights of their employees. Best advise is – go straight to a lawyer and avoid HR altogether!

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