Make Sexual Harassment at Your Office Stop

by Evil HR Lady on August 22, 2014

When everyone laughs at a dirty joke, you probably don’t think anything of it. After all, every television show you’ve ever seen shows the office as the correct place for sexually charged humor. But your office isn’t The Office and someone who habitually tells dirty jokes can create what is called a “hostile environment.” Even if everyone is laughing, someone may still be offended, and that’s the legal standard. If a reasonable person could be and is offended, you’ve just crossed into sexual harassment.

You need to ensure this doesn’t happen in your office. I spoke with Jimmy Lin, vice president of product management and corporate development at The Network, a firm that specializes in compliance issues. Sexual harassment training does come with some pitfalls. Here’s Lin’s advice–starting with what not to do:

To keep reading, click here: Make Sexual Harassment at Your Office Stop

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth West August 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Good timing–we’ve got required training coming up on this subject. I’ll keep these points in mind as I take it and see how well it fits the criteria you’ve laid out here.


Andrea August 22, 2014 at 9:48 pm

Can we talk about another form of harassment? I’m referring to the way young employees treat older workers, specifically when they act in a condescending manner and use inappropriate forms of endearment when speaking to them. I am 60 years old (although I look 45) and work with two women who habitually call me “sweetie,” “dear,” or “hon.” They do not address younger women in this way. In no way have I ever demonstrated that I am incapable of performing my job or keeping up with others due to my “advanced” age. (I have been voted Employee of the Quarter twice.) The only reason why my co-workers know my real age is that HR posts birthday notices each month (without asking us) that list our ages. If a man calls a woman “sweetie,” “dear,” or “hon,” she can claim it’s sexual harassment. When an arrogant younger worker uses these terms to talk down to a colleague who’s a senior citizen, it’s ignored. Why does HR not take this seriously?


HR Guy August 22, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Based the last line of your post I’m assuming you’ve talked to your HR department and they gave you the brush off. But have you tried addressing the behavior in the moment? For instance:

Younger coworker: Be a sweetie and file these forms.
You: Sure thing. Also, I’d really prefer if you called me by my name. Thanks!

Something like this really doesn’t read like harassment to me unless they’re doing other things that directly single you out based on your age.


Alice October 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

Sexual harassment happens much too often in offices, in hospitals, universities and in stores around the world. Workplace training for sexual harassment is a need in every company.


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