When you work in any office or facility, you need to make sure you create a safe and pleasant atmosphere for everyone involved. Even if you are not the boss, or in charge of a department, you have a responsibility as a coworker to make certain efforts for a peaceful environment. While you shouldn’t have to stifle your natural personality, there are a few efforts you can make to avoid sexual harassment charges while on the job.
Avoid Sexual References at Work
An office is a place for work and professionalism, not a place to chat with your peers about your latest sexual conquest or the secretary you have a crush on. Even when if you don’t make the comment towards a female coworker, she can still report you for sexual harassment if she was within earshot at the time of the comment. Instead of talking about this topic at work, reserve the social time for when you clock out of work for the day, inviting your pals down to the pub to discuss non-workplace matters.
Don’t Flirt with Coworkers
Sexual harassment is not just reserved for inappropriate conversations; a woman may feel sexually harassed by you, if your flirtations and suggestions are not accepted as an indication of interest. Whether your flirting is in the form of a suggestive conversation or an inappropriate touch, any coworker can report you for these unwelcome advances. If you want to flirt with your coworker, make sure she is interested and that your conversations remain clean while you are still at work.
Refer to Your Corporate Policy Guide
Policies regarding sexual harassment sometimes differ between companies. Some companies only consider a physically sexual touch to be considered harassment, whereas other companies will write a disciplinary report for any comment or touch that was received with sexual intentions. Ask your human resources representative for a copy of the corporate policy that discusses the specific rules regarding sexual conduct.
Preventing Sexual Harassment
Even when you take the right steps to keep yourself from committing sexual harassment, you may notice that one of your coworkers is not making the same efforts. If you see him trying to make a sexual advance towards another coworker, try to interject and explain the repercussions he may face if he continues with this behavior. Not only can you stop yourself from being part of the problem, but you can also help become a solution to it.