Should you report sexual displays of affection at work?

Most people know someone who they work with who is married or dating someone else in the company. While some companies have rules where people who work together can’t be married or date, that tends not to be the case as long as those two people aren’t directly reporting to one another on the job.

The problem with working with people who are dating or married is that there is a potential for those people to show public displays of affection, and those PDAs may make others feel uncomfortable.

Sexual harassment includes exposure to sexual or lewd images, materials and more

The issue with PDAs on the job, and why most workplaces prohibit these kinds of interactions, is because workers may feel uncomfortable seeing others kiss, hug or otherwise engage in romantic or sexual activity.

For example, if you witness a coworker kissing another one in a lewd manner, it might make you feel uncomfortable. In that circumstance, you would be well within your rights to ask that they don’t do that in front of you or to talk to a supervisor about stopping that behavior. It may be better for them to wait until they’re off the property or until they’re in a private office, for example, to show affection to one another.

Most people are reasonable when it comes to relationships in an office or workplace because innocent hugs, kisses and affection aren’t particularly uncomfortable to see. However, not everyone feels the same way about these behaviors, which is why you should say something if you feel uncomfortable. You have a right to work in an environment where you’re not exposed to sexual behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable.

If the behavior continues after you ask someone to put a stop to it, then you may have a case. Remember, it is usually not appropriate to show public displays of affection in a workplace, but if you have questions, you can talk to the human resources department, a supervisor or your employer for help. This may be a situation that requires HR to intervene or a simple chat to ask the coworkers to be more respectful of others in the workplace.

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