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What if a co-worker harasses you outside of work?

You have been suffering sexual harassment at the hands of a co-worker. Here’s the catch, though: It hasn’t been happening at work.

For instance, maybe a co-worker on your floor once asked you out. You said no and thought that was the end of it. However, they already had your personal phone number since you’d given it to them long before there was an attempted romantic relationship. After you rejected their advances, they started to send you explicit pictures.

If this happened at work or even on your work phone, you would quickly just go to your boss. But your co-worker always sends the pictures late in the evening, after you are both at home, and they only send them to your personal device. Is that still sexual harassment? Can your employer still do anything?

They can. You should definitely report it. This could create, as you well know, a hostile workplace environment. That person is still your co-worker. They only know you through work and they only have your phone number because you work together. Just because they ignore you in the office doesn’t mean that their actions do not violate your rights or make it harder for you to go to work and feel comfortable.

Don’t let them hide behind the excuse that you were not at work when it happened. That is not an excuse in a serious situation like this. Make sure you know exactly what steps you can take and what rights you have. No one deserves to have to work in a hostile environment day after day.

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