Let's think about one situation to begin our discussion of sexual harassment as it relates to "hostile work environment."
When an Uncomfortable Situation Turns into Harassment
Suppose you arrive at work one day with a new hairstyle. Your new coif is noticed, you receive rave reviews, and thank your fans immensely.
Before the end of the day, someone comes up to you, and runs their
fingers through your hair while commenting on your new color or style. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, say something and make your
feelings known. "Thank you for the compliment; however, please don't touch my hair" is an acceptable response.
What if your polite request is ignored? If you again feel fingers running through your hair, whether it's
immediately or days later, someone is purposely trying to antagonize you, and an uncomfortable situation is turning into a harassment issue.
What if you were in that situation with someone "running their fingers through your hair?"
How would that make you feel? Whether you are male or female, think
about whether that might bother you ...
Some of you may think that is totally inappropriate and others might think it is no big deal!
And from another point of view ...
Would you be likely to "run your fingers through someone's hair?"
If so, how would you respond if the person with the new hairdo said, "Thanks for the compliment, but please don't touch my hair."
Let's look at some of the issues involved ...