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For female employees: 3 subtle signs of sexual harassment at work

There are some clear examples of sexual harassment, such as inappropriate touching, sexual comments and requesting sexual favors in return for a promotion. But sometimes sexual harassment is more subtle. How do you know when flirting crosses the line? What about how a co-worker contacts you online or talks to you about his sex life?

As a woman in the workplace, it is important for you to work in a safe and comfortable environment. Keep reading for some subtle signs of inappropriate conduct that you should address.

1. Seemingly “harmless” flirting

Perhaps you get occasional compliments from fellow employees. While this can be a little awkward at times, a compliment is usually not a big deal until it gets to the point at which you feel offended. If a co-worker is persistent and makes you uncomfortable with flirtatious comments, make yourself clear to the employee and, when necessary, your supervisors. 

2. Online behavior 

It is common for co-workers to add or follow one another on social media sites. Sometimes it is nice to get to know the people you work with outside of your place of employment. But sometimes a digital connection goes too far. If you get persistent, inappropriate messages, you should not ignore them.

3. Sexual conversations

Your co-workers might make an off-color sexual joke here or there, but sometimes it crosses the line. You shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable because of a colleague's inappropriate talk. Is a co-worker sharing details about his or her behavior? If someone at work is sharing unwanted information with you, you should put a stop to it.

These are just three signs of potential sexual harassment that can take place at work. Sexual harassment takes many forms. If you notice any of these things and your coworker(s) won't listen, try resolving the issue internally through the human resources department. In certain cases, you might need to file a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or hire an employment law attorney.

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