How to Verbally Nix Sexual Harassment

Greetings PFL!  I have some maintenance issues before we get started with the topic for today.  First and most important – I was a guest on Nellie’s blog yesterday, YAY!  Please go check out the post and show her some love while you are there. She has shown me so much love and I appreciate her beyond what I can type in this little paragraph.

The SITSgirls featured my post from last week yesterday as well.  The discussion has been steady every since it posted.   I have learned a lot about varying opinions when it comes to commenting on blogs and I appreciate all of your input.   I have found a #25!  Make sure your comment form is visible to the commenter when they are typing their name.  I got checked about 10 times for that 🙂 .  That should be corrected now.  Let me know if you are still having problems.

BTW…how are you liking getting my replies to your comments via email?  I am loving that it adds to the discussion!

Back to regular programming….

Today we are speaking from the prosperity arm of PFL.   If you get your primary income by working for someone else, then you need to read this.  Women and men for that matter that work outside of the home, I have some questions for you.

PFL sexual harassment button

Do you let borderline sexually insinuating comments slide?

Have you ever felt uncomfortable on the job by way of the opposite sex?

Do you roll your eyes at dirty jokes?

Do you ignore inappropriate gestures?


I really starting thinking deeply about this after reading my February issue of Drug Topics where fellow pharmacist Jim Plagakis was featured on the subject “Sexual harassment in the 21st century”  Read the snippet…trust me, it’s a good one!

Let me set the scene for you.  30ish year old  female pharmacist, good looking, wearing a skirt and blouse, minding her own business on her lunch break….



That’s my kind of girl!

How It Was Handled

  1. She told him to stop!
  2. She informed him that it was unwelcome!
  3. She requested that he not ever do it again!
  4. She informed him she would be documenting the incident officially!

UNWELCOME is a key word with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Don’t let it stop there.  You need a paper trail for these instances.  You employer is supposed to take steps toward sexual harassment prevention by stating so in their policies.  You can take steps not to be alone in awkward situations with the opposite sex and not fraternize with known offenders when it’s unnecessary.

Well, well, well…you just find all kind of stuff on a fitness blog now huh? 😉

Yours in Healthy, Active, & Prosperous Lifestyles,

Rx Fitness Lady wants to know…

  • Why do you think people let sexual harassment incidences occur without consequences?
  • Do you have an incident that you can publicly share and how it was handled?
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Rx Fitness Lady

Greetings, I'm Joi, a Pharmacist with a passion for fitness & a community leader. I teach BODYCOMBAT, BODYPUMP, Tabata Boot Camp, & serve as a mentor to young girls. My goal is to inspire people to live healthy, active, & prosperous lifestyles through practical blog posts deliveries. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram. You can view more post and subscribe to stay tuned to latest updates at Rx Fitness Lady.

79 thoughts on “How to Verbally Nix Sexual Harassment

  1. Great post! These are all the right things to do when you are sexually harrassed. I have been very fortunate not to experience this. My coworkers always refrained from sharing dirty jokes around me–maybe it was the “no, you are NOT going to do this around me” look I give them.
    KalleyC recently posted…HomeMy Profile

  2. I get harassed everyday by my coworker (just kidding…not really). I work with my husband and I don’t tolerate certain comments and behaviors while at work. I gotta keep putting him in check .lol. So I know I would not tolerate it from anyone else. When I was fresh out of school many years ago, my boss would make comments like…you should wear your skirt a little shorter.. you should wear your hair out more… the clients like it…etc. Instead of speaking up, I quit. I wish I knew then what I know now. I love the example and the guidelines laid out in this post.
    Hope recently posted…Gotta Start Somewhere.My Profile

    • You have tickled me (those husbands I tell you) and irked me all in a matter of seconds. Creepy bosses, ugh…hate that you had to quit. Love that you are the boss now!!! I mean REALLY, I love it!

  3. Girl – I have this issue at my work. There is a guy who makes me so uncomfortable sometimes. I’m pretty laid back too — I finally had to say something and have a “Come To Jesus” talk with him. I informed who I needed to and documented it. Crazy to me that people think it’s ok to be like that!
    Melissa Love recently posted…Broken Ankle – 3 WeeksMy Profile

  4. She handled it well. Most women probably don’t say anything because they need their jobs. On the other hand some women do it to gain in their jobs then get mad when they get to the top and don’t want the “boss” touching them anymore. I would definitely keep a paper trail and since everyone is on a technology trip set up some voice recordings and take some silent pictures too.
    Kita recently posted…Pinterest Wednesday LinkupMy Profile

    • That is so sad Kita! My heart goes out to them for lowering their standards to get a job/promotion. I would not be afraid, that is what attorneys are for 😉 I understand everyone is not knowledgeable… hopefully this post will be helpful.

  5. Yayy, you fixed it *the comment field*(I think). I won’t know until I’ve actually posted my comment, lol! I’m with Hope, fortunately I’ve been working with my husband for the past 17 years and his hands sometimes find themselves on me, but I have a way of handling that, lol! Seriously, sexual harassment is no laughing matter. Women must make the distinction between a compliment and sexual harassment. I love it when a gentleman gives me a compliment, it let’s me know that at the age of 45, I STILL GOT IT, HOWEVER, when you cross the line, i.e.(saying crude remarks, eyeballing me, or coming within my personal space), then WE SIR, have a problem! Thanks Joi for always giving us some good topics to chew on. Look at you gettin’ all fancy, having your post featured on the SITS Girls! So proud AND happy for you…YOU GO GIRL!!!!! 😀
    Michell recently posted…Doing YOU WELL Wednesday #12My Profile

    • YES Michell! You are all good now. I will miss MichellllMichMichhelll, ROTFL!!! THe hubby comments are tickling me today! You look amazing Michell! Keep up whatever you are doing. I appreciate the support from you!

  6. Wow Joi, you really have me commenting alot on your Blog this week – all such interesting topics!

    As for sexual harassment, the laws in Bermuda are very much like the USA – and so everyone is on extreme guard, not even giving a compliment on your outfit of the day…however once I did have one of the Senior Vice President’s of a top Insurance Company I was working at – smell my neck and say “you smell amazing, what is that perfume you are wearing?” – well suffice to say, I was a bit uncomfortable; however I realised that this particular SVP was under severe stress that week and it was like he did not really know what he was doing, having never acted like this to anyone (as far as I knew and him being on the very shy side) in the entire time I was there. So I walked back to my office, just chalking it off to “stress related nerves.”

    Within one hour I was called into the President & CEO’s office asking if I wanted to take the incident further against so and so, to which by that time, I had forgotten….turns out the SVP whose office was just in front of the hallway where this occurred, went directly to the President & CEO’s to report it!

    All was okay….however we do not have written laws against sexual harassment in the workplace here in Jamaica, and at times I have had to correct men on their jokes, and touching – (in jest, they think it is extremely funny – as it is like a culture here!!) – so when I was the General Manager of The Caves Hotel in Negril – I insisted on having on-going sexual harassment in the workplace training – and that went well. It was shocking to see and hear how many of the men in the hotel did not realise the difference between sexual harassment and normal “banter” – really shocking.
    Jeanine recently posted…Just another beautiful Sunset in Jamaica!My Profile

  7. I’ve been sexually harassed at work. It was pretty horrible because me and the guy were friends at first, but then he started to get all weird on me. I had to report him. Ugh.

    Oh, I also married the man who used to stare at my bootay in the workplace without me knowing it. Only found that out AFTER we got married. LOL!
    YuYum YuckyYum YuckyYum YuckyYum recently posted…This is how I get treated round here…My Profile

    • Lol, too funny…you were probably trying to entice him with a lil extra strut seeing as how you married him.

  8. This is fantastic, I have been in some situations but usually I know how to get them out of my face with some cutting words wrapped up in a smile. This is very important information for all of us! Some of the things I witness here at the job is absolutely insane!

    Unfortunately, in Brooklyn, or NYC in general the men on the streets are just reckless at the mouth. Like super reckless so I’ve just grown a thicker skin to deal with it.
    Nellie recently posted…Weekly Wednesday Workout: Plie (Sumo) SquatsMy Profile

    • Yes, Nellie I had to reply to what you said about the men on the streets of NYC. From the alcoholics roaming the subway station to the randoms on the street you really have to have thick skin in the streets of NY. I’ve dealt with some extremely rude comments and sometimes things that cause you to just shake your head. I really need a human resources director for the loony toons on the street. Seriously!

    • Reminds me of that initial scene in Temptaions…that would take some getting used to for me. I’m just like the girl in the movie…who TF are you talking too 🙂

    • It seems so clear but clearly there are so many other factors going through ladies heads. I feel for them and hope that this post will inspire someone who is currently experiencing this to put a halt to it.

  9. Now in the work environment I do believe we have to speak up, make our position clear and document any form of sexual harassment. Oh man, documenting everything is a must. I’ve been in situations in the past, when I was younger, and I just shrugged it off or ignored it. I have learned from experience and it is extremely important to document everything. Although a fitness blog, this is a great topic. Btw, I honestly see your blog as more than a fitness blog. It’s a fitness lifestyle blog. Thanks for sharing this serious topic!
    Monica J recently posted…Monday Mom: June Ambrose – Celebrity Stylist, Shoe Designer & Rock MomMy Profile

    • Thanks boo! I actually consider it that as well, sometimes I just feel like I need to explain that fact. It’s not just fitness, lol! I am glad that through years and wisdom this isn’t an issue for you anymore.

  10. Great post!! I am a SAHM and fortunately do not have to deal with that mess….anymore.

    I dealt with harrassment when I was working. A lot from the guys in the warehouse.

    But, mostly from my own boss.

    He would always make his rounds. He’d say Hi to each of us girls as we sat in our cubile, working. But, he spent more of his time at my desk – making all these little [smart] comments that would make me very uncomfortable. But, I would fake a smile/laugh and keep my eyes on the computer (to avoid eye contact).

    It annoyed the crap out of me. I even felt forced to take down a picture of me and my husband [on my desk] to avoid hearing his mouth, because he’d have something to say about it every time he’d walk by. Like he was jealous or something!?!?

    It got to the point when I would hear him making his way to our area, so I would run to the bathroom and act like I was using the restroom just to avoid talking to him. I’d stay in there a good 5 minutes, too. Come out and they’d say, “He’s gone.” They even knew that I didn’t have to pee, LOL (SMH!), but that was my secret hiding place.


    UGH, I’m so glad I quit. Not for those reasons. But, he was making my job less pleasant.
    Christina P. recently posted…Tired of the same ol’ FONTS?! Check this out.My Profile

    • This experience makes me boil and the worst part is the outcome…he got to stay there and continue to act a fool! I sincerely hope that women currently in that type of situation will be inspired by somebody to speak up. I’m sorry you had to deal with that! It’s a blessing to be a SAHM btw!

  11. I love the way the female pharmacist handled things! Not sure if I would have been so bold had I been in that situation. I probably would have told my husband, then again that could lead to other problems. ; )
    Brandi recently posted…Spring Break BucketMy Profile

  12. This is a very informative and empowering post! I’m so glad to read that the female employee did not play around and meant business! I think people are scared, and need their job so badly, so they let things occur that they shouldn’t.
    Sherelle recently posted…Fuss Free hair: The Braided BunMy Profile

    • I agree Sherelle! I am pretty fearless at work, that is why I speak up about everything..but that’s a whole other issue.

  13. I think people let it slide because they think that no one will believe them. Especially when the person who is doing the harassing is in a higher position. I had a guy run his hands up my thighs on several occasions. He did it to other women too. Once I was promoted over him it never happened again.
    Carli recently posted…Kona Kase March Box in #ReviewMy Profile

    • Man, I’m really taken aback by all the comments attesting to previous experiences. I hope a current victim (that is how I view this nonsense) will read this and not have to subject themselves to that. I’m sorry Carli for when it did happen.

  14. There was a physician I worked with who use to make me so uncomfortable. It took a few times of him saying something inappropriate and rubbing my hair (yes, he did that!) for me to let him know that I didn’t appreciate it. I could have definitely handled it better though. Nice post.
    Andrea recently posted…BeQuoted: Quotes of the WeekMy Profile

    • Thank you Andrea. Men in positions of power often feel entitled and falsely empowered to do as they please and they have the nerve to think that all women are willingly and readily participants to receive that crap. I’m glad you didn’t endure it too long.

  15. I deal with this issue a lot. In my previous life as an attorney who defended sexual harassment lawsuits, served as an independent investigator for several investigations, and am now a human resources director.

    I have to agree with the advice being given. The first step should always be to tell the harasser to stop, in no uncertain terms. You must be clear that you do not want the touching, jokes, comments, or whatever is bothering you to continue. You must also report the behavior to the appropriate individual. A viable anti-harassment policy provides a way to report without going through your supervisor if he/she is the person you need to complain about. Once you’ve documented the incident, make sure you follow through.

    I think one important thing was left out from the advice above. DO NOT participate in the behavior. Far too many times the victim encourages the behavior by participating in the misconduct. If dirty jokes and sexual innuendo are unwelcome, you can’t tell dirty jokes or make racy comments either. Don’t fall into the pattern of “going along to get along.” It sends the wrong message by leading your co-workers to believe that the behavior is welcome. You must be consistent in your behavior. You can’t make suggestive comments to the guy who reminds you of Shemar Moore and then complain to human resources when the Flavor Flav look alike says something similar to you and expect a positive outcome. Mixed messages are dangerous.

    • You must be consistent in your behavior. You can’t make suggestive comments to the guy who reminds you of Shemar Moore and then complain to human resources when the Flavor Flav look alike says something similar to you and expect a positive outcome. Mixed messages are dangerous.<<<<

  16. From a former male supervisor who had over one hundred female in my organization; document, document and document. Management need facts, time and places to take action. The work place should be a safe harbor for all employees.

    Great topic.

    • Thank you Daddy for chiming in with your years of experience and expertise in having to handle issues that come up such as this. I appreciate you adding to the discussion…especially from the male perspective.

  17. Wow, aren’t you well-rounded with the topics! I’m not in an office anymore, but for sure I could have used this years ago. I’m certain there were instances in my 20’s which were NOT COOL and I let them slide. I have a good friend here who let harassment go on for years until she finally created a case against him. It seemed to be resolved well but I couldn’t believe how long she let it go on!
    Tamara recently posted…It’s About Relationships.My Profile

    • Thank you Tamara, I try hard to make this space of mine relevant to my entire theme. I really appreciate that compliment.

      I’m glad your friend resolved the issue. Who knows why each and every case is so different in regards to delaying reporting. We can only try to be supportive and encourage them to put an end to it.

  18. “Horrible Bosses” crossed my mind when I read this. In the movie, the dental assistant being sexually harrased by his boss Dr. Julia, play by Jennifer Aniston. It leads to a number of funny scenes, but in real life sexual harassment is a very serious issue that can be difficult for employees to talk about. Great post!
    Honeybee recently posted…Are Your Love-Hate Relationship With Exercise Making You Fat? You Need These Reality Check!My Profile

    • Thanks Honeybee! I think you’re right in that there is a bit of embarrassment maybe even shame that goes along with reporting such incidents. I hope that women gain the strength to overcome those barriers and eliminate the stress of the situation. Thx for chiming in!


  19. Well you know I enjoy your blog no matter what you are writing about! Love that you’re tackling these issues as well. My pet peeve is I I hate being whistled out, honked at, or having some stupid comment yelled out the car window when I am running (esp nerve wracking when I am by myself). Doesn’t happen as much these days…I try to run with a dog or a friend as much as I can anyway now, but really guys? Do you really think we find it flattering?
    Michelle recently posted…In Celebration of National Pet DayMy Profile

  20. This is a very empowering post. I would venture to say that, if you have “lady parts”, you’ve been a victim of sexual harassment. {i.e. Every woman has been harassed, even it’s been a small offense.} I don’t understand WHY it is difficult for women to receive respect from all men – generally speaking. And, in terms of women running the show, you don’t see us looking at men’s crotches and smelling their shirt collars or joking about sex. I mean, COME ON.

    Love your posts, Joi. 🙂

    Meredith recently posted…9 Ways To Get Financially OrganizedMy Profile

    • Thank you Meredith! You are absolutely right in terms of the majority of women not even remotely concerned with their subordinates in the manner of sexual anything. We actually think with our head on our shoulders. They however think a bit differently! I appreciate you supporting My dear!

  21. I have been in the Army for a very long time and if I sent up a report for every something like this happened I would have spent most of my career prosecuting sexual harassment. We have a somewhat different procedure. Things should be handled at the lowest level. When someone makes unwanted advances the first thing to do is to let them know firmly that it is unwanted and that they should never do it again because some don’t realize that what they are doing is not appropriate. If it is resolved and they “get somewhere and sat down”….then there is no reason to pursue it further. Now if they have been warned and the behavior continues, that’s when it is time to file a complaint and push forward. In a male dominated field I am here to tell yall that some of these men are truly ignorant to the fact that they are crossing lines. Some are habitual line crossers but won’t know unless someone firmly tells them they need to SAT DOWN. I feel this is a better resolution versus immediately ending someone’s career. If it can be squashed without all the bells and whistles that is my recommendation.

    • You are right. Men can be completely oblivious. I definitely agree to telling them it’s unwelcome and I would hope that would put an end to it. The lady in the story wasn’t here for it because he was a known offender that frequently got away with it and I don’t blame her. SAT DOWN<<

  22. That is how you do it . Set the record straight . Ladies have the right and obligation to herself to demand respect.

  23. Pingback: Rx Fitness Lady - The SITS Girls

    • Hi Nicole, I wasn’t taught but I am naturally no nonsense. I appreciate the story though. Thx for visiting.


  24. that was awesome! good for her for standing up to him and stopping him. I think most people are afraid, I mean look how rape victims are treated. If you are treated like the criminal for standing up to your rapist, what might people say if you stand p to sexual harassment? Society as a whole needs to change.
    karen recently posted…Blogging and I Can’t SleepMy Profile

    • I agree Karen! I was surprised by all the commenters that had at one time or another experienced something of this nature. Fear is real. Hopefully this was helpful. Thx for visiting!

  25. This is a great article!!!! Seems easy enough to do! Straight forward and clear….my kind of girl! by the way, happy SITS day! I followed you over from there and glad I found you! Newest follower! Enjoy your day!
    Danielle recently posted…Tea Room InspirationMy Profile

  26. This is brilliant. I love how the woman in your example was direct and to the point. I don’t like it, you need to stop, and this is being reported. I was sexually harassed as a teenager by a manager, and when I told the owner, who was a family friend, who told me that I probably misunderstood. Umm, at 19, I didn’t misunderstand comments about my breasts. But it taught me that if people can continue without making other people feel uncomfortable, they want you to conform and let it ride. Thanks for writing this.
    Lynne Childress recently posted…Five Minute Friday: “View”My Profile

    • Thanks for sharing Lynne! Unfortunately, it happens often! I hope this post was helpful to someone straddling the fence with a situation.
      I appreciate you visiting today.


  27. What a GREAT post! I feel like a lot of people let the little acts of harassment go for fear of drawing attention to it and what could come from that. The tips you have listed are all very important! Visiting from SITS!
    Miranda Pridgeon recently posted…NEW HOMEMy Profile

  28. I believe, in my case, the sexual harassment was without consequences due to the culture of the office where I work. When I began working for my current employer the women took pride in calling one another ‘girls’ and the men were referred to as ‘men’ not boys. They welcomed belittling actions and mindsets. Once I began to question these actions I was referred to as a ‘problem’ and ‘trouble’. I had/have a husband, children and a college degree, not to mention I was in my 30’s…there was no way in hell I was going to allow someone to call me a ‘girl’. I’ve heard the ‘got milk’ reference towards a lifetimers, term I call people who have worked there 25+years, more than I care to remember. The women believe it is harmless and “its just John Doe, he doesn’t mean any harm by it”. My office is probably the last remaining few of a dying breed. We have women who graduated high school one day and started the next. Their cousin, sister, aunt, 3rd cousin twice removed used to work there and changing the office culture will take work and many lawsuits before it changes. They hired their first HR Director in 2013. No HR department prior to 2013.

    Oppression, fear of loosing their jobs, low self-esteem and need for attention is my guess why sexual harassment goes without consequences a lot of times.
    Alethea recently posted…D.C. Health CareMy Profile

    • In the words of my classmate in pharmacy school who was targeted as a “trouble maker” for speaking up for herself, They can call you problem but they better fix the situation. Good for you for standing up for yourself.

      Thanks so much for visiting Alethea.


  29. I am one of those people who don’t like any contact at all unless I invite it, including friends. I have a perimeter around me, don’t cross it.
    Last year while at work, a co worker, whom I really like, she’s super, came up behind me and put her hands on my shoulders without me knowing. Needless to say I about lost my mind. My instinct is to start swinging. Oh, and I got loud, too.
    I have never had an issue with anyone sexual harassing me, especially at my current job. I don’t give anyone the chance because I really, REALLY cannot be bothered with some of these folks.
    My workplace is pretty strict, too, with words and touching and the whole entire lot. NOTHING can be inappropriate. Glad I was never interested in HR.
    Cheryl recently posted…New Bloggery: Blog Idea/Post OrganizationMy Profile

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