Your office doesn’t have a policy saying that employees cannot date each other, and so one of your coworkers asked you if you’d like to go on a date. Perhaps you saw it coming in advance, or maybe it took me by surprise.
Either way, what you’re wondering is this: Is it a form of sexual harassment if a co-worker asks you out? Should they keep the relationship professional and not try to delve into your personal life?
Did they accept your answer?
If office dating isn’t prohibited by the company itself, then there is nothing illegal about your coworker asking you out. They’re not infringing on your rights or attempting to harass you, at least if they made the request respectfully.
However, if you say no, then they should also excuse themselves from the situation and they should not ask you out again. If they refuse to accept your answer and they continue asking you out repeatedly or start making derogatory comments about you to other co-workers, then this is an issue.
Were they your supervisor?
Even if they only ask you out once, problems could arise if this person is a supervisor or someone else who is in a position of power. For instance, maybe it was implied that you had to accept the date in order to get a promotion or just to avoid being fired. This is known as a quid pro quo situation, and it is also illegal because it is an abuse of the power that that person has within the company.
If you believe that you have been suffering from harassment due to your gender, make sure you know about all the legal steps that you can take.