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What to Do When Workplace Romance Leads to Sexual Harassment


It’s not uncommon for people to meet at work and start a romantic relationship. Although discouraged or even prohibited by many employers, this phenomenon has been going on for decades and will likely continue indefinitely into the future.

While some of these relationships work out, others don’t. This can put former romantic partners into an awkward situation in which they must learn to work together again as colleagues. This transition can occur professionally without problems, sure, but it doesn’t always go that way. When someone is upset by a breakup, they can engage in behavior that may be considered sexual harassment.

If you ever experience sexual harassment at work from anyone, even a former romantic partner, you don’t have to tolerate this behavior. You should report sexual harassment to your supervisor or another leader in the company as soon as possible, and your employer is obligated at that point to investigate the issue and take meaningful action to prevent future incidents.

Behavior That Is No Longer Welcomed Is Not OK

If you previously welcomed certain behavior from your ex that you no longer wish to receive, you have every right to tell them to stop and expect the behavior to cease. To be clear, we’re talking about the kind of behavior that might occur between two romantic partners in the workplace, such as a compliment on appearance or another intimate gesture. Behavior that may not be considered sexual harassment or discriminatory in its nature, such as asking you work-related questions, may not be legally enforceable.

If you’re not comfortable confronting your ex on your own, you can tell your supervisor about what’s going on. They can communicate for you that such behavior is no longer welcome and should be avoided. If things don’t get better, you should tell your supervisor and your employer should take more decisive action to protect you.

What If My Employer Isn’t Treating Sexual Harassment Seriously?

It’s unfortunate, but some employers don’t take reports of sexual harassment seriously. If your employer has failed to address your concerns adequately and stop your ex from sexually harassing you at work, you can hold them accountable with legal action.

Discussing your situation with an employment lawyer can help you understand the options available to you. We at K2 Employment Law are experienced employment law attorneys, and we believe that there are no circumstances under which anyone should have to endure sexual harassment at work.

Learn more about how we can help during a free consultation. Contact us today to get started.

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