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3 approaches to sexual harassment

If someone is harassing you in the workplace, it is possible the individual does not realize his or her behavior is making you uncomfortable. Outside of blatant quid pro quo harassment situations, it is sometimes best to approach harassment with communication, at least as a first attempt to stop the activity. But how do you approach someone whom you believe is sexually harassing you?

The decision first hinges on whether you are comfortable addressing the situation yourself or not. If you aren’t then you should approach via human resource departments or other appropriate channels. The downside is that, once you do so, your complaint is public. The upside is — your complaint is public. You aren’t the only one dealing with the situation anymore. Often, individuals use this approach after they try a personal approach and nothing changes.

A personal approach can go two ways. You can directly communicate your discomfort in a face-to-face conversation and ask the person to stop the activity that is making you uncomfortable. This approach comes in handy when you truly feel like someone is not harassing you on purpose and may not realize what his or her comments or actions are doing.

A second personal approach is through writing. If you can’t confidently approach someone in person, this might be the best way to handle the situation. Know that your email or other form of written communication might be read by others in the future, so keep things professional.

In the end, the approach that you take is up to you. Always know, though, that you have legal options in San Diego, should harassment continue, especially after you let your employer know about the problem.

Source: The Business Women Media, “3 tips to handle sexual harassment at work,” Jamillah Foulkes, accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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