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3 things to do when faced with sexual harassment

It shouldn't be your responsibility to ensure you are safe from sexual harassment in any workplace, but the sad truth is that even good employers can't be everywhere. Sometimes, you have to protect yourself against inappropriate activity in the workplace, and here are three things you can do to put a stop to such actions from others.

First, avoid romantic relationships with coworkers whether or not your company has a policy preventing office romance. Dating someone in the office doesn't always go bad, but when it does, it can lead to uncomfortable situations and even sexual harassment. It's best just not to put yourself in such a situation if you can avoid it.

Second, when you can, rise above a potential harassing situation in the most professional and public way you can. This isn't an option with sexual harassment that takes place behind closed doors -- a good reason to keep doors open whenever possible -- but it can help stomp out potential harassment from those bold enough to make comments publicly. One woman faced down such commends in an executive board meeting by looking the person in the eye and stating that she might have better ideas before moving forward with her presentation, for example.

Finally, when sexual harassment does occur, tell someone. Tell the most appropriate person in power, whether that's your own supervisor, a different supervisor, an executive leader or the human resource department. Once you tell someone, if the employer doesn't take action to protect you, then tell someone else. You might have to talk to someone outside of the company -- such as a lawyer -- to truly protect your rights as a worker.

Source: Inc, "Fending Off the Creeps: How to Avoid Sexual Harassment," Stacey Epstein, accessed Jan. 29, 2016

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