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Are you being harassed at work?


Identifying inappropriate workplace behaviour

Nobody wants to get up every morning and dread going to work. Not because of the work, but because you feel you are being harassed by co-workers or even the boss. Unacceptable behaviour at work can eventually lead to not meeting your work responsibilities. Overall, working in an unpleasant or even hostile environment will create a decrease in productivity, reduced confidence and even absenteeism.


In many cases it is difficult determine if your co-worker is just being really annoying or are they stepping over the line and being completely inappropriate. In all cases, if the conditions created are affecting your ability to do your job, this is a hostile work atmosphere.


If at any time you are feeling uncomfortable with your boss or co-workers, this is a problem.


Even if the problem may seem small, like a dirty joke, you as an employee should not have to just grin and accept this kind of conduct. It happens that sometimes management might even bribe you with gifts, knowing that they have done something wrong.


If talking to the coworker who is harassing you is not working, then the best route to take would be to go to a trusted manager or supervisor. Hopefully the problem can then lead to some positive changes. Obviously if this does not work, the next step could mean legal intervention. All of this can be very difficult. It can have an emotional and financial effect; it may even affect your professional image.

If you let it go and ignore the behaviour, even if you leave the company, can you ever forget about it?

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter” Martin Luther King, Jr.


You matter! The more people speak out, the higher the chances that there will be change.

All the members of a company from the Managing Director to the tea lady should be made aware of what behaviour to look for, if it does happen.  


Sexual harassment is not the only problem in the workplace. Other actions can be considered as harassment. These can be things concerning race, religion, age or gender. It can be anything that ultimately hinders the employees work productivity and success, actions that create an unpleasant work environment. Many companies today offer training and talks about harassment in the workplace.


Here are some guidelines as to what you should consider as harassment.

Non-sexual harassment

Here are a few examples of what is considered non-sexual harassment


  • Making derogatory remarks concerning a co-workers age, race, gender and religious beliefs
  • Constantly shouting at and making criticizing remarks in front of co-workers
  • If a co-worker makes rude or lewd jokes
  • When a coworker shares inappropriate emails, images or videos
  • Tampering with a person’s personal belongings or their work equipment
  • Spreading gossip or malicious rumours around that is not true


Basically this includes any kind of comment, behaviour or action that is offensive, discriminates, and is insulting or intimidating.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is not limited to tasteless advances; it includes any physical or verbal actions that cause an unpleasant working environment.


“It’s not a compliment, it’s harassment”


  • If a person makes sexual comments of appearance
  • Inappropriate touching or grabbing
  • Sharing of suggestive images or videos
  • Asking a lot of questions about your sexual life or orientation
  • Constant unwelcome and suggestive advances, this includes e-mails and letters or notes
  • Any kind of sexual gesture or sexually suggestive sounds such as whistling
  • Inappropriate name calling such as slut


This is only a short list of the types of harassment,  the list could go on. The fact is that it does happen and in many different forms. Once you understand what constitutes as harassment in the workplace, you can take the next step to help improve your work environment.


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