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What to say to someone who makes sexual comments to you at work

You expect to work in a safe and healthy environment, but this doesn't always happen. For example, if someone begins to sexually harass you, it can impact your professional and personal lives.

If someone makes offensive sexual comments to you at work, it's not always easy to think on your feet and react in the appropriate manner. However, here is some advice on what you can say to defuse the situation, and hopefully, put an end to the harassment on the spot:

  • You crossed the line: Make it clear to the harasser that they said something you don't like. When you firmly tell them they crossed the line, it may be enough to scare them straight.
  • I am reporting your behavior: This alone will show the person that you're serious about protecting yourself. And don't just make this threat. As soon as possible, contact your human resources department to file a formal complaint against the person.
  • I have no plans of letting this continue: Some people think that if they keep up their behavior they'll eventually get what they want. Make it clear that you won't let their behavior continue.

There are many forms of workplace sexual harassment, all of which should be dealt with in the appropriate manner.

If you take action against your harasser, but they continue to make offensive comments, it's time to consider your next steps. In addition to following up with your employer, you have the legal right to file a formal complaint with the appropriate state agency or the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

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