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Unwelcome Behavior in the Workplace

Unwelcome behavior consists of any conduct that is gender-based or sexual that you never initiated and it is personally offensive to you. Co-workers, superiors, employers, or even subordinates can be perpetrators of unwelcome behavior harassment.

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Unwelcome Behavior

Sexual harassment in workplace includes unwelcome behavior. Unwelcome conduct towards a co-worker, employee, or subordinate is a major component of harassment. But if you are in agreement with a peer's joke, physical touching, or advances then that is not considered sexual harassment nor is consensual dating unwelcome conduct.

However, employees most times do not understand the full scope of unwelcome conduct harassment in the workplace. As an employee you need to know the different types of sexual harassment and what you should do if you encounter such a problem. At EasyLlama we train employees and employers on sexual harassment including unwelcome behavior harassment to ensure that all employees can work in an environment that is not hostile, intimidating or offensive. Employers should protect employees from sexual harassment by acting accordingly once an incident of harassment has been reported.

Examples of unwelcome behavior harassment

Offensive sexual/sexist speech

Offensive sexual/sexist speech

If an employer or co-worker uses unwelcome sexual or sexist speech near you repeatedly, that is unwelcome conduct harassment. This kind of conduct is offensive and intimidating even if the offender does not do anything further. For example, sexist or sexual speech can include:

  • Crude sexual jokes
  • Sexual gestures and references
  • A derogatory language that has sexual comments
Clouds

Requests for sexual favors and dates

A harasser can also ask a co-worker repeatedly to go on a date or give sexual favors. Despite the co-worker refusing these date offers or giving in to sexual favors the person still coerces them and at times the harasser uses it as just a joke. But this is unwelcome behavior and it counts as harassment because the person is not respecting your decision, instead, he/she is making you feel uncomfortable.

Requests for sexual favors and dates
Sexual materials being presented to you

Sexual materials being presented to you

Another unwelcome conduct that can affect a person negatively when in the workplace is sexually suggestive material being shown or displayed to you. This can happen if a co-worker or employer suggestively shares pornography with you or has inappropriate pictures on their computer screen or screen saver. A person that exposes another co-worker or employee to view such material without their choice makes the workplace unsafe.

Job-related incentives in exchange for sexual favors

Sexual harassment may escalate, requiring an employee to give sexual favors to a supervisor or an employer in exchange for getting promoted, earning a pay rise, or retaining a job. This unwelcome conduct can cause intimidation of an employee by the employer if the employee does not give in to the sexual favors.

Job-related incentives in exchange for sexual favors
Unwanted physical touching

Unwanted physical touching

Unwanted physical touching is unwelcome conduct harassment. Touching from a co-worker or employer for example that you did not give consent ends up making you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable, and it is not acceptable.

What to Do if You Suspect Unwelcome Behavior in the Workplace?

If you encounter unwelcome behavior harassment as an employee at your workplace, you should act immediately by reporting the harassment to the right personnel within your organization. As an employer, you should be responsible for ensuring that the workplace is safe for all employees without any discrimination or intimidation. Ensure that you have policies in place that will be used to prevent harassment or deal with harassment at your workplace.

When unwelcome conduct harassment occurs it should be addressed appropriately because sexual harassment complaints are serious matters that affect the output of a person. When addressing the complaints as an employer these points should be kept in mind:

  • All complaints should be taken seriously
  • An investigation of all complaints should be done
  • Do not make credibility judgment based on the reputation of the complainer or the accused. Remain objective until the investigation is complete
  • Do not leave the people involved to solve the issue on their own

Employers need to define the kind of conduct that is prohibited and unacceptable in the workplace.

Having clear policies and procedures about unwelcome conduct enables employees to know what is expected of them. At EasyLlama we have policies that details how to deal with unwelcome behavior harassment as an employee or as an employer. We are helping to train employers, supervisors, and employees so that workplaces can have the best environment for everyone.

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