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What to do if your coworker is making you feel uncomfortable

Most people have an idea of what sexual harassment is in our heads, and it is usually quite an extreme vision. It might be rape, forceful touching or blackmail. Although these things do constitute sexual harassment, many people do not realize that acts like this are only the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of people throughout the country that have suffered sexual harassment that do not realize that legally, they can do something about it.

So, what is sexual harassment? In legal terms, it is any action or repeated action that can be interpreted as sexual in nature, and that creates a hostile environment in the workplace. This means that it affects your experience of the workplace in the long-term, in the sense that you feel uncomfortable working with that person, or start to fear certain social interactions in the workplace.

Some examples of sexual harassment in the workplace

In a time where digital communication in the workplace is very prevalent, sexual harassment does not need to be physical, face to face communication. It could occur when in contact with a coworker that is not even in the same office as you. This could be the sharing of pornography, or other sexual images or videos over workplace communication channels, as well as inappropriate comments or requests over email.

Other examples include spoken communication such as comments on your appearance or your body, or making crude jokes or gestures.

If you feel that the actions of another have created a hostile environment in your workplace, it is important to feel empowered to take action if you feel that you want to.

Source: The Balance, "Examples of Sexual and Non-Sexual Harassment," accessed March 01, 2018

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