Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Subtle signs of harassment at work

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Firm News

Although the world has taken great strides towards equality, some issues remain difficult to overcome. Sexual harassment in the workplace, while reduced in recent years, still exists.

Some employees may experience sexual harassment without realizing it, especially when it starts. While most may believe they may recognize the signs, some predators’ subtlety may prove challenging to spot. Learn some of the more low-key signs of sexual harassment on the job.

Social media interactions

The digital world has become a principal part of life for many. Through discussions at work, coworkers may start to follow and friend each other on social media. While that is not harassment, the constant commenting and sharing of posts and pictures may demonstrate a coworker is crossing a boundary. When online interactions become uncomfortable, the pattern may continue at work.

Comments on appearance

An employee should not have to shirk around the office out of fear of commentary about clothes or hairstyles. Some coworkers may start to make excessive comments about the physical appearance of another. While the commentator may play these off as complimentary, the recipient may feel uncomfortable, especially when they become constant.

Coincidental physical contact

Harmless physical contact may seem like nothing to the person doing the touching, but the recipient may not believe so. People have personal space and boundaries that need protecting. When a touchy-feely coworker seems to go out of the way to squeeze by, block forward progress or touch a shoulder, it may infringe on another’s boundaries and cause significant physical and emotional distress.

Moving forward after dealing with sexual harassment may take time. Once the indicators appear, the employer should step in and stop anything uncomfortable and remove the threat.