What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment is unwanted behavior of a sexual nature when:

- You feel that if you don't submit to this behavior your job or working conditions will be threatened

- It creates a hostile, intimidating and humiliating working environment.

Sexual harassment can involve unwanted physical contact, lewd comments or jokes, the display of pornography, unnecessary or unwanted comments about your appearance, or demands for sexual favors. Sexual harassment is an unwanted and unreciprocated nature of sexual behavior that distinguishes it from friendly or flirtatious relations that are free and mutual. If you make it clear to another person that their advances are unwelcome, your wishes must be respected.

Harassment is not a joke. It is an expression of perceived power and superiority over another person, and it can have devastating effects.


Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that will hopefully help you navigate the corporate world without falling prey to or being accused of sexual harassment.


- Exhibit appropriate behavior at all times.

- Ask permission before touching a co-worker, but absolutely avoid inappropriate touching, even if consent is given.

- Respect the "personal space" of others.

- Always compliment employees and co-workers about work performed rather than appearance.

- When giving verbal praise, avoid inappropriate or suggestive words.

- Remember: "No" means "NO." and, "Not now" means "NO." and, "I'm busy" means "NO." and "I'm not that kind of person" means "NO."

- While handshakes are always preferred, occasionally give pats on the shoulder only when appropriate.

- Let a co-worker know his/her conduct is unwelcome if you are not interested in a personal relationship.

- Keep office doors open and windows uncovered when alone with one person regardless of gender.

- Keep email communications professional at all times.


- Do not listen to or participate in rumors.

- Do not attempt to date or become romantically involved with co-workers during work hours.

- Do not attempt to date or become romantically involved with co-workers if the attempt is unwelcome.

- Do not engage in an unwelcome sexual relationship with an employee.

- Do not use flirtatious, profane or sexual language around co-workers.

- Do not show pornographic, provocative or sexually suggestive materials to coworkers regardless of the nature your relationship with them.

- Do not telephone or email co-workers, except for professional purposes.

- Never degrade or humiliate another person shame or belittle any individual.

- Do not meet alone with co-workers in isolated places or after office hours.

- Do not show favoritism to co-workers.

Additional information on HR matters can be found in The Corporate America Survival Handbook. ISBN: 1598000942.


Dr. Uchil is an entrepreneur, business-owner and author embodying almost three decades of management and consulting experience. Prior to founding The Uchil Group and Uchil, LLC, Dr. Uchil spent over eighteen years in a variety of senior management roles at several large consulting organizations. In addition to his PhD in Business Administration Dr. Uchil also holds an MBA in Consulting Operations Management, a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and a Diploma in Electronics and Telecommunicati...

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