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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This is the first time that I work in the office all the time and the first time I feel like I´m sexually harrased. At the beginning there was this one colleague who was aggressively sexually hitting on me (and still is from time to time). It was creepy. He is married and has a kid. He was also making really gross inappropriate jokes all the time, especially inappropriate for females, which was a bit strange cause he was hitting on all the females at the office at the same time.

I was rejecting him, until one day he stopped greeting me and stopped talking to me. I felt like he was trying to manipulate me. It felt really bad cause we were sitting at the same table, and it really made a bad atmosphere at work. He wasn´t talking to me for about two weeks.

The other guys at the office were nice to me. I kept my distance. Then a new girl came into our office. She was dressing rather provocatively, wearing short skirts, and revealing clothes. The guys started to hit on her and make sexually inappropriate jokes and comments. I became good friends with this girl and at this time, I thought I should open up more and communicate more with the other colleagues. And then it all started. The other males started doing the same to me, albeit to a lesser extent - making sexual remarks and sexist jokes. Once they pissed me off so much, by joking how I should be making the guys at my table coffee and pay special attention to what type of coffee each of them likes, they joked how they will put a coach at one part of the office and for me they will build a kitchen, and called me The Coffeemaker. I got really hurt by these comments and I find it absolutely unexeptable for this day and age. It´s really disrespectful. I ignored it, but I wonder what should I do about this? As I said, this is my first job at the office and I don´t really know how to react to this. If it happend somewhere outside of work I would put them in their place, but since it´s in the office setting I don´t want to be making a bad atmosphere. But, maybe I´m wrong.

I was thinking I should tell the boss about it...

I´m sure this things happend to you guys as well. Feel free to share it here :)
 

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Hi LittleOrange

It's terrible that you had to go through all that :(

I also experienced it but it was the boss.
The person in authority had sexually harrassed other female colleagues as well but nobody did anything.
We just complained it amongst ourselves.

This was years ago and I only worked there for a couple of months.
Recently, I told someone I trust about this and they said next time something like that happens,
you should gather your female colleagues and go up to him and say "Do it again, and we are calling the police."

It's difficult. It's not easy saying what's on your mind because you also have your life to think about.
But yes, I definetely recommend you tell your boss if possible. Much better if you take female colleagues are experiencing the same thing and talk to the boss about it together.

If the boss doesn't do anything about it, is it worth staying at such a place?

I hope everything goes well for you.
 

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And they say women don't face sexism in the office. Terrible behavior for sure, but I think you are allowing it to happen by not firmly showing disapproval of their words. "Are you so useless you can't make coffee on your own?" this would shut them up quite quick and if they continue it you can easily call them out for their bullshit in a more straightforward manner. I don't mind sexist jokes but they are only good when general respect outside of gender is already established within the group, which the way you describe don't seem to be the case.
 

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If choose to pursue some formal means, documenting specific accounts of things is useful for later if you have to recollect a series of cases of their behaviour.
Giving good detail of what happened and the date and time at which it occurred emphasizing that its about your sex, because it's not just about it being bullying but it specifically in relation to your sex. Where of course one should be able to read that from such acts but good to really drill it home.

Not sure what kind of work you're doing but might be able to find a company policy explicitly on sexual harassment that might provide guidance on what to do, like who to contact in the company about it and their responsibilities/duties. Where if they the designated person fails to do anything, may take it to their superior.

It's generally the responsibility of a company to make a decent working space and depending on how far willing to go, can press forward with it. It may help to consolidate with other women and hear of their experiences so it's not a lone voice, so if they're willing to speak along side you might help put some weight behind reports of sexual harassment.
 

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I've been sexually harassed at work, but it's usually covert and comes from a higher-up I work closely with or someone with a lot of power. If these guys feel comfortable making "harmless" jokes out in the open like that and if they're close to your rank, then this is normal for your workplace. HR will probably not be helpful, perhaps even hostile towards you.

I wouldn't blame you if you want it to go away quietly. But if you plan on fighting them, get on your A game and document everything. See if your state is a one or two-party when it comes to recording phone calls and such. If you decide to bring this up to HR, you'll need proof. With evidence, they'll know that you're talking business. Companies hate controversy and lawsuits, so they'd probably pay you to go away rather than cause a ruckus.

Look for a new job in the meantime just in case they decide to fire you and make sure they cannot say one negative thing about your work ethic while you're planning this. And DO NOT play into their game of seeking approval. I can see it's already getting to you - which is normal - but this is something they could use against you should you decide to move forward with a case.

Good luck. Sexual harassment at the workplace is rampant and I dare anyone to say otherwise.
 

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It happened to me when I was 16 and working in a grocery store.
My manager was in his 40s and a bit handsy. At first it was something that I could convince myself didn't happen or that I had misread. So, one day I told him that I have space issues and don't like being touched and he said he would stop, but he didn't.
Then he got really personal. Asking me question casually at first about my relationships. I would always side step the questions or change the subject. Then one day he came in while I was on break, he put both hands on my shoulders, pressed his body against my back and asked if I was a virgin.
I reported it to the higher ups but nothing came of it because it was my word against his and he said that I was just upset that I didn't get a promotion. So I got wrote up for wasting company time. He also knew where there were no cameras and that's when he would get inappropriately touchy.
But he was still my boss and he got much much worse. I tried to stay where the cameras could see me at all times, but it was impossible to do that. And his questions got much more sexual in nature. I tried to ignore him to steer the conversation in another direction, but he would not be deterred. So I just quit.

I'd start by telling the guys to knock it off and that heir words make you uncomfortable. Then, I'd report them to HR.

I hope everything works out for you.
 

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Just hear me out...

I know you should be able to go to HR that is what it is supposed to be there for.

But being real world here that does not mean there could not be a backlash for you and that it is truly the most effective way.

I don't recommend you do my first thought which was to serve them some coffee in their lap.

But can you get up mid conversation next time one says that, walk slow grab your own cup of coffee walk slowly over in front of them (body language is key here) look at them while straddling your own coffee and say, get your own coffee and walk off.

Maybe bring a sausage to work and viciously cut and stab at it with a fork or knife while talking casually with a coworker about men. :laughing: Crazy works. People do not like fucking with crazy.
 

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I'm really sorry to hear about this happening to you.

I think you've had some great advice already which I will second.

If you can, and I know it's easier said than done and this is not defence of your problematic colleagues, but it's good to start by making it clear that you are unhappy with their jokes and comments. Again, not a defence but you mention that you are not the only one receiving these comments and as lame as it sounds, sometimes people are stupid and think they're just joking - oblivious to the fact they are upsetting someone.

However, if you don't feel comfortable with the direct approach it is absolutely fine to escalate to your Boss, or even better your HR department - they have a duty of care to you and they will take you seriously.

Again though, it's important to be prepared - as other have said you need to note in as much detail as possible what has happened, when and who was involved. I can't stress enough how important this is even if it feels unfair - for all their faults your colleagues have rights also and evidence and detail is required both to resolve the matter but to also communicate to them exactly what they are being disciplined for.

Your HR staff will take you seriously in all cases but you will be required to back up what you tell them and as is so often the case, it's best to go in ready prepared than to feel under scrutiny or pressure during the process.

I wish you the very best of luck and I hope the matter is resolved quickly and appropriately.
 
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I´m sure this things happend to you guys as well. Feel free to share it here :)
I'm a guy and happened to me, not what you describe (more on this below), she is married (and was married at the time) but intense sexual remarks, showing me her underwear, visiting my office alone on specific times talking while moving in sexy ways, holding my hand, asking me how this or that clothing looked good on her or not (actually modeling forme), making double meaning jokes on sex to me, asking what was so good at that my exGFs were visiting the company and leaving me gifts at work, calling me to see something on the computer and taking postures where I could see her breasts or her vagina-shape on specific pants, etc.

I'm a guy, all of that was performed in very, VERY nice ways, softly, sweet, sometimes too sex-intense-ways, I never felt bad about this just weird, she was hitting on me really hard. I knew she was married, I know her husband and daughter, she is close family to a long time friend. And I insist, all of that was nice. After rejection she became hostile, aggressive, workplace became a nightmare and made remarks that I was gay. That... was hell.

As I said, this is my first job at the office and I don´t really know how to react to this. If it happend somewhere outside of work I would put them in their place, but since it´s in the office setting I don´t want to be making a bad atmosphere. But, maybe I´m wrong.
I don't know how to say this, I'm familiar with what you describe, in fact I happen to have female friends (for years) who are attorneys and lawyers, one of them was my GF) and... you will get nowhere with that description. There are no specifics and you are falling on one common mistake: describing how you felt. In terms of crimes or violations it's not about how you feel, it's about the crossed line described in the law of your country. Your case would generate noise and weird moments in my region but will get nowhere, in fact my own female friends say grew tired of reading or hearing and not finding any literal description of abuse or harrassment.

YES, we all can be victims of amazingly planned attacks where they are not even touching you and still make you feel terrible, and that needs attention, but those cases are kinda hard to deal with. This is like police tv series "still don't hear the crime here". I know this probably sounds harsh to you, but this are not just my words, it fits what those women working on law grew tired of, so unless you have hard evidence you are only about to create a terrible ambient for all, specially for you.

If you really take my words, you will see this is not underestimating your situation, but actually telling you this doesn't qualify, you need more. The fact that this is your first office job also says a lot, needing some adaptation. I take this kind of problems very serious (regardless of gender) and if I was your boss I would like to hear something solid, not just descriptions on how you feel or felt. This is crucial to builda case. In my region women are protected, yes, cases like this generate a lot of noise, but very few actually have a case, that's why many end up on nothing.

Usually when a woman talks about this and a guy says what I said, things go bad, that's why I insist to you that women in law state ths is not a "case" unless you have something else. Sure anyone can tell you "you have a case!!!" sure they will charge money even if you end up like a fool. I've seen how most cases like 100%!!! get instant attention and people approving as if the story was 100% true, only to get nowhere. I'm not saying you are lying ok! you need something solid on this. I've seen how unlike in the past, many of these cases are not getting the same attention today (even from women in law in my country) the thing is, there is nothing solid, unless you have something solid... you will get nowhere, and explaining how you felt doesn't mean there is something, it's about what happened, how and then how you felt, I see no detailed description on this here. I hope that my words get to you and you get to see what I mean, good luck.
 

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I think @changos described well why I think it's not the best idea to go to superiors at the moment.
These guys are not trying to sexually harass you personally, as in to assault you, they are playing a social game. As it stands you are losing at it, because you are not standing up for yourself. At least that's how I see it. You need to do your best to defend yourself and make them understand their behavior is inappropriate. If that doesn't work then yea, see how you can make a case to the superiors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Thanks for your replies, everyone! :) Yeah, our boss is a really good guy, so I think he might be willing to take action about it. That´s why I thought of telling him. We are a small company so we don´t have HR department. The problem is that our boss doesn´t speak our language (he´s foreigner), so he doesn´t really understand what´s going on.

I´m not planning to take this to court. I just wanted to tell the boss so that he tells them it´s inappropriate, because honestly I don´t think some of them are even aware it´s inappropriate, because from what I can tell, they are raised in such households and subculture where this is normal or tolerated. It´s the macho culture.

The first guy from the story is still sometimes sending me gross sexual messages on Skype, so I have proof of that.
@Chango you want me to write the details here of what they are doing/saying?

I stood up today when one of those guys asked me "So, did you fuck this weekend?" and then later he started to harras a new male colleague, so I told him to stop. I got really serious. It´s funny how they got scared lol.

 

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Maybe bring a sausage to work and viciously cut and stab at it with a fork or knife while talking casually with a coworker about men. :laughing: Crazy works. People do not like fucking with crazy.
Very naughty. Liked that.:kitteh: Indeed, I can see myself doing such a profane(!) thing after being put under pressure by this type of colleagues as a crazy sexual 5w4 INTP :).
Once I confronted a 30-years-older-than-me boss for trying to be too close to me and inappropriately interfering in my personal affairs after just 1/5 days of working for him. I was fired and am proud of it:angry: @LittleOrange as the harassment doesn't seem so serious at this moment, you can think about the solutions @Sensational and @Red Panda offered. This may stop your coworkers before they leave you no other option but to formally act against them.
 

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The first guy from the story is still sometimes sending me gross sexual messages on Skype, so I have proof of that.
@Chango you want me to write the details here of what they are doing/saying?

I stood up today when one of those guys asked me "So, did you fuck this weekend?" and then later he started to harras a new male colleague, so I told him to stop. I got really serious. It´s funny how they got scared lol.

No amount of "not standing up for yourself" justifies this behavior. This is completely unacceptable and they know it and your boss probably isn't as innocent as you think he is. Yuck.
 
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I've been sexual harassed at work too. To reiterate accounts above, it's usually from someone older with authority and power over you.

To the people suggesting reporting to the HR department, it is important to note that HR works for the company and exists to prioritize and protect the company as well - HR has an interest in helping the company because the company's name is on their paycheck. It is not uncommon for someone to report to HR with lack of accountability as a result.

@LittleOrange You need to address it and tell them that this kind of behavior is unprofessional and unacceptable. If you go to your boss, show all of the documentation regarding every incident. Record and cite everything. Good luck. Workplace sexual harassment is common and you're not alone.
 

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I've been sexual harassed at work too. To reiterate accounts above, it's usually from someone older with authority and power over you.

To the people suggesting reporting to the HR department, it is important to note that HR works for the company and exists to prioritize and protect the company as well - HR has an interest in helping the company because the company's name is on their paycheck. It is not uncommon for someone to report to HR with lack of accountability as a result.

@LittleOrange You need to address it and tell them that this kind of behavior is unprofessional and unacceptable. If you go to your boss, show all of the documentation regarding every incident. Record and cite everything. Good luck. Workplace sexual harassment is common and you're not alone.
True, but the company and HR have a legal duty of care. I can assure you almost every employer would take this seriously, the legal ramifications for not doing so are way too big.

At least here in Europe, any firm big enough to have a HR department is not going to put up with this nonsense.

The HR policy of a company is the agreed upon method for handling these matters, I suggest people use them as the first port of call. Only in the unlikely event this fails to secure a satisfactory resolution would I suggest handling the matter via alternative means.
 

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True, but the company and HR have a legal duty of care. I can assure you almost every employer would take this seriously, the legal ramifications for not doing so are way too big.

At least here in Europe, any firm big enough to have a HR department is not going to put up with this nonsense.
The primary goal of HR is to minimize legal liability for the company, a goal that may or may not produce the most desired result for the employee being harassed. It is important to reserve HR as an option, but I would generally confront the person (supposing you feel comfortable doing so, which you may not) or talk to my boss about it first. Ultimately, knowing the best course of action to correct the problem is naturally up to the person in that specific situation.
 

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True, but the company and HR have a legal duty of care. I can assure you almost every employer would take this seriously, the legal ramifications for not doing so are way too big.

At least here in Europe, any firm big enough to have a HR department is not going to put up with this nonsense.
The primary goal of HR is to minimize legal liability for the company, a goal that may or may not produce the most desired result for the employee being harassed. It is important to reserve HR as an option, but I would generally confront the person (supposing you feel comfortable doing so, which you may not) or talk to my boss about it first. Ultimately, knowing the best course of action to correct the problem is naturally up to the person in that specific situation.
In this case the only method by which it's possible to protect the interests of the company is to also protect the interests of the complainant. I don't know what world you guys are living in where HR departments sweep this stuff under rugs or dismiss it out of hand - it certainly hasn't been the experience in my career.

Not acting appropriately on a complaint of sexual harassment increases the company's legal liability, it does not reduce it.
 

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True, but the company and HR have a legal duty of care. I can assure you almost every employer would take this seriously, the legal ramifications for not doing so are way too big.
You can't assure me anything. In fact, you are wrong. I suggest you refer to the rampant sexual harassment cases in Silicon Valley. Explain that to me.

First thing I learned from HR class was not to trust HR. In fact, the HR professor once asked what would happen even with the proper protocol and documentation when it's your word against a more valuable higher level senior employee and I can assure you, the answer was unpleasant.

At least here in Europe, any firm big enough to have a HR department is not going to put up with this nonsense.
I do not live in Europe.
 
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