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Subtle signs of sexual harassment in the workplace

On Behalf of | Jun 21, 2024 | Workplace sexual discrimination comes in many forms

When you go to work, you expect a professional environment where you can focus on your tasks. However, behaviors that seem harmless at first can hint at sexual harassment. Recognizing these subtle signs early can help maintain a respectful workplace for everyone. They can also empower you to address concerns proactively.

Recognizing uncomfortable interactions

Here are some common yet often overlooked interactions that might indicate possible sexual harassment issues in your workplace:

  • Inappropriate Jokes: If laughter comes at the expense of someone’s dignity, it’s more than just a joke. Note any recurring patterns.
  • Lingering Physical Touches: An uncomfortable touch, even if brief, can signal inappropriate behavior. Keep track of such instances.
  • Frequent Personal Compliments: Overly personal remarks on appearance or personal life can be inappropriate.

If you notice these behaviors repeatedly, document each incident with the date, time, and possible witnesses. 

Changes in communication and social dynamics

Subtle shifts in team dynamics and communication can reveal significant details. For instance, if colleagues exclude you from meetings or group emails without a clear explanation, these actions might signal problematic behavior.

To address these concerns effectively, document each occurrence and speak with your company’s human resources department. After reporting to HR, they should investigate your concerns thoroughly.

Follow up regularly to check on progress and maintain records of all communications. Consult a legal professional if HR does not address your concerns or the harassment continues despite your formal complaint. 

Sexual harassment isn’t always as apparent as many people realize, but understanding the subtle signs can help maintain a fair and respectful workplace aligned with workplace policies and Kentucky legal statutes.