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Workplace harassment 9 ‘normal’ things that happen in the workplace that are actually considered to be harassment

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As long as it makes one uncomfortable, it is considered to be harassment.

play Man almost touching a woman's shoulder - 9 'normal' things in the office that are considered to be harassment. (Courtesy)

The workplace is supposed to be a safe environment for everybody.

Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

You may have heard the horror stories of what some people went through in their work space – take the Harvey Weinstein case as an example – or may have experienced it yourself.

Other times you may not even be aware that you have been harassed because certain things in the office have been normalized.

It should be noted that as long as you make someone feel uncomfortable in the workplace or provide a hostile environment for them to work in; it is considered harassment.

Here are 9 things you thought were normal in the workplace but are actually considered to be harassment.

1.Sharing details of someone’s private life

play Women gossiping - Sharing details of someone's private life is considered to be harassment (Bella Naija)

 

Spreading rumors about someone’s private life can be considered as harassment. No matter how juicy that story may be to keep it solely to yourself, practice discretion to avoid getting in trouble.

2.Overhearing inappropriate comments in the workplace

In this case, it may be considered to be third party harassment. It may not happen directly to you but overhearing inappropriate comments in the workplace can also be considered as harassment. If it made you uncomfortable, you are obliged to speak up about it and take the necessary action.

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3.Asking about someone’s sexual history

Asking about someone’s sexual history is never okay. It is offensive and intrusive.

4.Looking at images of sexual nature

play Blurred image on a computer - looking at images of sexual nature while at the workplace is harassment (MMA Corner)

 

If an employee catches a glimpse of another employee looking at anything of sexual nature, it is considered harassment and that employee is allowed to report the matter to the Human Resource department.

5.Making sexual jokes

Sexual jokes in the workplace are inappropriate and can also be considered as sexual harassment. If the jokes make you uncomfortable, you are allowed to speak up and talk to someone about it.

6.Making fun of someone’s sexual orientation

A person’s sexual orientation should never be in question regardless of one’s personal views on it. If someone makes fun of your sexual orientation and does not stop even when you ask them too, report it to the HR.

ALSO READ: Anita Nderu responds after her BBC story caused backlash

7.Staring at someone’s body

play Men staring at a woman suggestively - staring at someone's body suggestively is harassment (Chris A Petersen)

 

No matter how good you may think someone looks, it is best to keep those thoughts, opinions and in this case eyes to yourself. Staring at someone suggestively may make them uncomfortable and that too is considered harassment.

8.Commenting on someone’s personal relationship

If someone wants to keep things private about their relationship then they are allowed to. If an employee pressures them to reveal details about their personal lives, then they are allowed to report it as harassment.

9.Criticizing one gender

If you are a minority in your industry, you may want to pay close attention to how you are treated when it comes to criticism. Take the #timesup campaign as an example. The workplace is supposed to provide a space of equality regardless of the gender.

 

Source: Hello Giggles