As the accusations of sexual harassment sprung up across the board in 2018, the issue has become somewhat of a hot topic, especially in the workplace. So what happens if you actually like someone you work with and would like to meet up with them outside of the workplace? Generally speaking, I would advise against this as it’s a tricky situation in almost every scenario. While having a one night stand or brief romance might be fine outside of the office, in the workplace it requires a great deal of emotional maturity and responsibility to ensure that you don’t bring your feelings to work everyday – which is really challenging even for the best of us. The falling in love part usually isn’t the challenge, it’s breaking up that tends to make things difficult – could you imagine working with your ex everyday? That can be stressful. The other issue is that your advances may not be taken the right way and could land you in a heap of trouble. If you are interested in having a one on one meeting with a coworker, you should handle the situation with as little passion as possible – at least at first. Try and keep things platonic and friendly at first – rather hint at your intentions or let the relationship grow slowly over time. Jumping to conclusions could cost you your job or your reputation.
So it’s best to be professional both in the office and outside the office until you know where you stand on the matter. When it comes to dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s imperative that you report anything that may seem out of the ordinary to your superiors – whether it’s happening to you or a fellow colleague. Often, victims of abuse don’t tend to talk out about their situation for fear of losing their job or because they’re ashamed about admitting what’s happening to them. If you let sexual harassment prevail while knowing that it’s actively happening in your office, you’re almost as guilty as the person committing the act. So be bold and stand up for those who are being victimized – karma will take your side eventually. When it comes to advocating the rights of your fellow female employees, it’s important for you to be sure that you aren’t patronizing someone. Always speak to someone first about how x or y made them feel and whether they would like assistance rather than simply being bravado – you may have totally misunderstood a situation. Sometimes even being a voice of reason or empathy can be enough. While it may be unprofessional to get involved with a colleagues personal life, if you notice that someone seems unnaturally sad or simply ‘isn’t themselves’, a kind word and the reassurance that you’re there for them can really help build a sense of trust and understanding. The best way to ensure that your workplace is geared towards the rights of women is to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, keep a steady channel open between employees and HR or management so that any issues can reported in private and dealt with professionally. Finally, be sure to keep macho culture outside of the workplace and have regular meetings explaining the rules of intimacy amongst colleagues in the workplace as well as defining what sexual harassment is – as you’d be surprised just how many people actually have no clue what that term really means.
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