Many people end up dating their coworkers. If you talk to married couples, they sometimes tell a story of how they met on the job 10 years ago. While some businesses do have policies prohibiting inter-office dating, most of them will allow it and some of these relationships will even flourish.
However, if your office allows dating between employees, you might wonder if it’s sexual harassment when someone asks you out. You don’t want to go on a date with them, you didn’t want this interaction to happen and it made you feel uncomfortable. Is that an example of harassment?
Not if they only asked once
As a general rule, although every case can be different, asking someone else out one time is not going to be considered sexual harassment. If they simply and politely asked you if you’d like to go on a date, and you said no, as long as they accepted that answer and moved on, they have done nothing wrong.
Of course, there are ways that this can turn into sexual harassment very quickly. For instance, maybe they weren’t polite when they asked you out. They came up to you, described some of their fantasies about you, and then told you that they wanted you to go get a drink with them after work. If they were already aggressive and making sexually suggestive comments, it may be sexual harassment the very first time they talked to you about their attraction.
Another thing that sometimes happens is that the person does not take no for an answer. They keep asking you out repeatedly. They will not leave you alone, they keep pestering you and maybe they even talk to your coworkers about how they’re eventually planning to date you. When they won’t give up, it can turn from a polite question into a form of harassment. They may think that they are just showing you how dedicated they are or how much they care, but they are actually violating your rights.
What are your options?
If something like this has happened to you, you do have legal options. Make sure you know what steps to take to protect yourself, your career and more.