When too much attention at work becomes harassment

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2022 | sexual harassment |

Attention at work is not bad when you feel it is respectful and does not impede your job. If it leaves you feeling uncomfortable or awkward, it may fit into the workplace harassment category.

Harassment in the workplace may take many forms and differ depending on the position and motives of the aggressor. Discover some elements that may cross the line from typical attention to predatory.

When attention becomes harassment

If you feel pressure to spend time with someone, it may feel confining and stressful. The first prong of the harassment test is how an interaction with a coworker makes you feel. What may an employer consider harassment? Examples include:

  • Giving you gifts for no reason
  • Asking you to go out on a date after you have said no
  • Commenting on your appearance
  • Touching you or impeding your personal space
  • Promising you a promotion in exchange for something else

You do not have to tolerate unwanted attention, especially if it means doing something that does not feel right.

Steps to stop unwanted attention

If you believe someone’s attention is too much, try speaking up about it. In some instances, the person may not realize that you do not enjoy it. However, if you do tell the aggressor that the actions make you feel uncomfortable and the behavior continues or escalates, that is harassment. This proves a more predatory motive rather than an innocent one.

Discrimination and harassment make the workplace a hostile and challenging environment. If you feel like someone’s behavior is crossing a line, consider reporting the conduct to your human resources department.