home what'snew resources ask amy news activism antiviolence events marketplace aboutus
Ask a Question!
Meet Amy!
Amy's Resource Guide
Ask Amy Main
TOPICS
Feminism
Girls/Children
Health
International
Media
Miscellaneous
Most Asked Questions
Politics
Reproductive Rights
Sexual Harassment
Violence Against Women
Women's History
Work/Career
   
 


 
Sexual Harassment

Hello,

I work in an office where the men are constantly forwarding each other extremely graphic e-mails featuring naked women performing various sex acts. To be fair, they do not send them to me (though I have seen one or two), but they do discuss these e-mails in front of me, laughing when I get upset.

I'm not trying to be uptight, and I have joked around with the guys in the past. If I want them to stop discussing these things around me, do I have to completely abandon my sense of humor and basically threaten them with harassment charges? It's a small office and we've worked together for years. I just find myself growing less tolerant of these things.

Thanks,

Amy

   

Amy --

It sounds like you have a pretty good relationship with your coworkers and thus might be in a good position to just lay it out for them. I don't think that you have to do this in a doctrinaire way, but simply point out that it's just not funny to you -- and while they might humored by it, you aren't. If this more conversational approach doesn't make an impact, you could also probably do something more formal through your HR office.

Many workplaces have policies against viewing porn, etc.... on their dime and through their accounts. Also, this cumulative behavior can count as sexual harassment -- even though it's not intended that way, or at least you don't seem to be interpreting it that way -- it is part of creating a hostile work environment.

I hope you can find some resolution -- and if you do want to do something more formal, probably best to begin documenting these exchanges.

Good luck,

--Amy