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How To Deal With Work Place Harassment When You’ve Had Enough

How To Deal With Work Place Harassment When You’ve Had Enough

Work place harassment is an uncomfortable situation. Here are a few tips on dealing wit how to stop it. These tips should help you confront the situation.

We’re currently living in a time of movement. There is movement towards equality in a way that has not been seen before. There are movements including Me Too and Time’s Up which deal directly with work place harassment and the ignorance that surrounds his very real problem. So many women and men have dealt with work place harassment and done nothing about it because they don’t want to cause a scene. Now is the time to cause a scene. Now is the time to say time’s up and walk out.

Personally, I have dealt with harassment at almost all of the jobs I have worked at. I have worked in pubs and theatres and have received so much harassment that I can’t count anymore. I have had people grab me and touch me, I’ve had people tell me that I have to go out with them, I’ve been threatened when I’ve said no. Probably the most frustrating thing to come out of all of these instances is not being sure about how to deal with the situation. Is it okay to fight back? Is it okay to tell the (in my personal experience) man to go away? Because I’ve learnt that just saying no doesn’t usually go down well.

Last week alone I was cleaning a table and a man said to me ‘Go on a date with my friend’. I said ‘No.’ He said: ‘Why not?’, I said ‘I don’t want to.’ He said: ‘That’s not a reason.’

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When has it been acceptable for a person to tell me that saying ‘I don’t want to’ isn’t a good enough reason? Why do I even have to give a reason to this stranger? What would have happened if I had indulged him? Does he think that me and his friend would have run out of the pub, hopped on a plane and got married in Vegas? No. This man knew I was going to say no and decided to talk to me because he could. Because he thought it would be funny for his friends. How have we got to a place in society where someone will make me feel uncomfortable in my place of work so they can have a laugh with their friends.

Oakwood Solicitors recently polled over 6,000 adults in the UK and found out that 40% of women and 18% of men had experienced some form of work place harassment. These numbers are too high. There is no reason why this many people should be being made to feel uncomfortable in their work place. So here is what you can do if you feel that someone is harassing you, or making you feel uncomfortable in your work place.

1. Talk back

If you work in a place where you can talk freely, then talk back to the person and tell them. If you don’t think you can tell them that they’re making you uncomfortable, then just reply saying no. Saying no doesn’t always work but it will shock some people because they won’t expect a response.

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2. Catch Someone’s Eye

If you work in a busy place and someone is acting threateningly towards you, you can’t always respond how you would like. You don’t always know what the person is going to do. So it can be worth trying to catch someone’s eye, such as a colleague or manager. If you bring another member of staff into the situation, do. The person talking to you will not be expecting to have another person to talk to and will be less able to make you feel uncomfortable.

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3. Tell Your Superior

Sometimes it isn’t possible to have someone else there whilst the person is harassing you. However, as soon as the person has left you should tell a supervisor. You should be sure to describe the person and point them out if you see them again. The company you work for should have a policy on work place harassment, and if it doesn’t and you don’t feel safe – then it really isn’t a good enough job. Your safety at work is so important.

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4. Talk About Harassment

Talk to your colleagues about what happened. Tell them the story, tell them multiple stories. The more people talk about what is happening around them, the easier conversations about things become. Being harassed at work can sometimes feel embarrassing, but there is nothing to feel embarrassed about. You need to be strong and make sure you do something. Letting people act or speak a certain way to you will not make them stop; but talking talk or showing them that you are a powerful individual will.

The more we talk, the more we can change. If you know something like this has happened to you, then talk about it. Tell someone and join the fight to stop work place harassment.

If you have any questions or your own stories about work place harassment, then let us know in the comments below.

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