You are fearless and fly with your pencil skirt hitting every curve just right. It’s as if you’re floating on air like an angel in your stilettos. You deliver rock star results, and any man would be happy to have you on his arm.
But if you have Donald Trump “The Remix” working in your office, at some point, you may have to help him understand why none of this is an open invitation for his offensive comments and behavior. Even when you’d rather throw hands, here’s how you tackle the issue and still keep your job—and your freedom.
If you take offense to your coworker’s pet names, such as honey, boo, or bae, it’s time to put a stop to the madness. Sure, these could be terms endearment, but you certainly don’t have to sit back and take it when you feel uneasy. Be open and honest about your aversion to overhearing stories of his sexual escapades in the break room. Until you address it, he’ll remain oblivious to your concerns and continue with his “locker room talk.” After all, bringing awareness to the situation could be eye-opening for him. Best-case scenario, he’ll apologize and correct his behavior, so both of you can move on with your lives.
Let him know he’s crossed the line. What’s acceptable for Barbara may not be tolerable for Shirley. To put it plainly, he’s broken boundaries when “Haha, that’s funny” becomes “WTF did you just say?” Despite the anticipated awkward moment, tell him when you deem something hurtful and inappropriate. Even if you’re not on the receiving end, don’t let him get away with disrespecting your coworkers either. Yes, we like to mind our business and sip our tea, but having your coworker’s back can make a world of difference.
After you’ve made your point clear, the unruly behavior is likely to stop. However, there will always be that one. The one who, no matter what you say or do, he will continue with his antics. When putting your foot down is not enough, it’s time to take a trip to your supervisor’s office.
If he’s your supervisor, HR should be your destination. Many employers offer sexual harassment training and have a defined protocol for addressing issues. Filing a complaint against a coworker can be difficult, but necessary. You’re entitled to feel safe and respected at work regardless of what anyone else thinks. If your company doesn’t want to get sued, they’ll launch an investigation ASAP.
We spend most of our waking hours at work and deserve to enjoy it. No one has the right to grab you or “come at you sideways” no matter what position your coworker holds or how he attempts to explain it away.
Ashley Watkins, Career Coach and Nationally Certified Résumé Writer with Write Step Resumes, LLC, provides high-quality résumé writing, interview preparation, and career coaching services to help job seekers get more interviews and job offers fast. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com.
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