Sexual Harassment or Office Relationship?

Listen to this postWhat would you do if a co-worker was sexually harassed? You may not accept sexual harassment and you would report it right away to the right person for immediate action. But before reporting the harassment, you should make sure that you know the difference between office relationship and sexual harassment. The result of surveyed workers in the US stated that 40% of the surveyed workers admitted they dated a co-worker and 18% of them had dated more than one co-worker (Pearce II, 2010). The age group between 35 to 44 are most active group in the office relationship group because 44% of them admitted a relationship (Pearce II, 2010). Pearce II (2010) state that the age group of 55 and older are also participating in the office relations activity with lesser percentage of 34%. Office relationship is defined as “relationship between two individuals employed by the same company that advances beyond the socially acceptable employer-employee association and the work-related duties” (Pearce II, 2010, p. 38). Office relationship might be desirable by large number of employees but sexual harassment can lead to “employee turnoverabsenteeism, insurance costs and lost productivity” (Popovich & Warren, 2010, p. 45). If you have been sexually harassed by a co-worker then you should:

  • Remain calm and do not start blaming yourself.
  • Tell the offender that you do not like what was done and it should be stopped immediately.
  • Report the harassment to the right person. Fill the forms or write a litter of complain to you superior.
  • Follow up on the investigation and disciplinary action. Make sure it will not happen to you or other co-worker.

But before you file a complain for your co-worker, make sure that they have been harassed.



Pearce II, J. A. (2010). What execs don’t get about office romance. [Article]. MIT Sloan Management Review, 51(3), 39-40.

Popovich, P. M., & Warren, M. A. (2010). The role of power in sexual harassment as a counterproductive behavior in organizations. [Article]. Human Resource Management Review, 20(1), 45-53. doi: 10.1016/j.hrmr.2009.05.003

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About Sami Malallah
My thoughts and ideas are without politics, sarcasm or negativity. Please comment on them and share them with others.

9 Responses to Sexual Harassment or Office Relationship?

  1. iqbalgreen says:

    Good point , thank you .
    A lot of people in our countries ( especially women ) will not submit a report of harassment because of the consideration of community , which considers the harassment as a scandal . Then she will hardly be married ( regardless to the psychological pain that she feels ) , and since that marriage , in our culture is very important , she will not submit that report . But I think , what is important is that , regardless of society’s view , she has to submit a report so that : 1 To avoid the sexual harassment in future . 2 For her psychological relief and safety . And finally to punish the perpetrator.

  2. you gave good reasons for reporting. thank you for helping me.

  3. Dr Abeer says:

    I envy you for your frankly speaking subjects.
    This kind of problems might be prevented rather than treated, as the psychological trauma it can cause is unrepairable.There are general issues which should be respected e.g trying not to be alone with the door closed after working hours,ladies are requested to wear descent
    outfits.These are just few points but it can reduce the chances of being sexually herassed.

  4. R says:

    I think sometimes it can happen that a co-worker might be single and acting as if he likes the employee in a descent way (Like: I wish I can have a wife like you or so on…) by grabbing her emotions and once she figures out that he is doing it only to pull her leg, then he starts to act negatively. This is an indirect harassment.

  5. Terrific post but I was wondering if you
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    Bless you!

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