In recent weeks it has come to light that what we all knew had been going on for years in the workplace, was infact rife at the very top of our countries government. Surprising? I don’t think so.
I’ve worked for the private sector and government agencies, and it has been the case in all of them.
As a bloke, it never really registered as innapropriate; a slap on the ass by your work colleague first thing in the morning (male to male), that squeeze of the bum by a female colleague when talking about squats or getting fit- we just laughed and carried on. Perhaps, it’s a “bloke” mentality? Did I ever feel violated or upset? No. Did I ever think someone had crossed the line? No. Could it have been seen as innapropriate? More than likely. And this is where I think issues arise.
What is acceptable to me isn’t necessarily acceptable to all. Knowing where to strike that balance can be difficult. Being in a room full of over excitable colleagues and wanting to feel like “one of them” might make you tolerate something you wouldn’t normally. Is that right? No. Should you feel pressured? Absolutely not.
If you have a scenario where you are pressured or you are made to feel uncomfortable then say something. At first, directly to that person; leave them in no uncertain terms that what you feel happened is not correct, and if it happens again then further action will be taken. If it happens again, then most (except our dear politicians it seems) can rely on a good HR Policy to support them. You should never feel unable to communicate your feelings in such a scenario. This applies men and women.
Nobody should ever feel in danger of being abused or mistreated whilst in the workplace. Talk to someone! 🙂