Harassment, unfortunately, can follow individuals into any space. This includes the workplace, according to Los Angeles workplace harassment attorney Pasternak Law. Because it can be such a sudden event, it pays for everyone to be prepared, and one such strategy for counteracting harassers is to know how to respond firmly to their inappropriate actions. Here are some tips that will keep you in the know.
Remember These Six Phrases
In a 2017 article, Inc Magazine laid out six important phrases (along with six alternatives) that people could use to challenge harassers on the spot whenever they made some sort of inappropriate action or rude comment. These included the following:
- This behavior is harassment. With this phrase, you call out the behavior directly and make it clear that the behavior is wrong.
- Those comments/jokes aren’t funny. In fact, they’re insulting. This phrase lets those who indulge in “edgy” humor know that their words aren’t as appropriate as they might think, and that they should keep their behavior professional.
- Could you repeat that? I want to be sure to put that in the report. You can say this to let someone know that they have crossed the line, that you have taken notice, and that you intend to take action.
- Don’t touch me. This is a very direct message that whatever that person just did, they shouldn’t have. You can follow it up by reminding them to ask for permission for any form of physical contact.
- This threatens me. You can make it clear that the actions an individual has taken make you fearful of physical harm and have profaned your personal space.
- This makes me feel uncomfortable. Similar to the above, this phrase can be used to put a stop to unwanted advances and extricate yourself from a harrowing situation.
The goal behind all of these phrases is to call inappropriate behavior out for what it is, and put harassers on notice so that they know their behavior will not be tolerated. Additional responses you might use in such situations include a direct “stop harassing people,” and other phrases you can use to call attention to the behavior and why it is wrong.
With any response to a harasser, you should be sure to deliver it firmly and with strong body language. Look your harasser in the eyes, speak clearly and with strength, and show that you are going to be assertive about your position. In these situations, you don’t need to feel sorry about how their behavior is making you feel, and you should make it clear that you are not going to tolerate any sort of inappropriate actions on their part.