Over the last few years, sexual harassment on the job has gotten a lot more exposure. People have been speaking up more often. Harassers are being held accountable. It’s refreshing, considering how long these things were just sort of swept under the rug.
Of course, some people have pushed back against this change. They have complained, for instance, that people can no longer flirt with their coworkers. What was once seen as innocent flirting, they claim, could now be harassment. They could get fired. They say it’s ruining office culture.
They also say that one mistake could be all it takes. What if they accidentally say the wrong thing to the wrong person?
Here the thing: That’s not how it works. These changes do not stop flirting between two consenting adults. They also do not cost people their jobs for innocent accidents — texting one person when they meant to text someone else.
Remember, harassment is often repetitive. If you ask a coworker out and they say no, they’re not going to run to HR and get you fired for harassing them. Now, if you ask them out every day for a month, pestering them when they are clearly not interested, that’s a different story. That’s not an accident. It’s not a misunderstanding. It’s harassment.
Have you been harassed on the job? It does still happen, even with the ways that things have changed lately. If it happens to you, make sure that you are well aware of all of the legal options that you have to put an end to it.