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When comments about your workplace attire becomes harassment

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Sexual Harassment

When making conversation, coworkers typically break the ice by asking about your weekend or commenting on your attire, which is usually never a cause for concern. However, some people cross the line with their remarks, making their comments a form of harassment.

How do you know? Here are signs your coworker’s remark may constitute harassment:

The nature of the statement

If your coworker’s comments are derogatory, demeaning or sexualized, they can be harassment. For example, remarks that your office skirt is short and sexy, with obvious focus on its sexual attractiveness, is a sexualized comment, which you can report as harassment.

The impact of the comment to your work environment

When comments lead to a work environment that is intimidating, hostile or offensive to you, with reasonable basis, then it may be a ground to report the situation as harassment.

The frequency of the remark

Most times, we brush off one-time unwanted remarks. However, if your coworker makes unwelcome comments repetitively, they can create a hostile work environment for you, which makes their behavior a form of harassment.

Other factors

Each situation is unique and other factors may come at play before it can be considered as harassment. Such factors include targeted or discriminatory comments, power dynamics and retaliation.

If you or someone you know is experiencing what could be harassment, it is important to consult with your company’s human resources officer, a workplace harassment advisor or a legal professional who can provide guidance and potential remedies based on the specific circumstances of your situation.