In Summary
  • Most 'fresh off the boat' employees are usually at a loss of how to react when they encounter sexual advances from fellow colleagues at work.
  • Some ignore the obnoxious colleague and pray that he or she will get bored soon enough.
  • Others confide in a trusted colleague who can quietly tell off the grabby employee on the victim’s behalf.
  • Do you have feedback on this story? E-mail: lifeandstyle@ke.nationmedia.com

Unfortunately, most organisations in Kenya lack a proactive approach to their sexual harassment policy; some do not sensitise their employees on workplace sexual harassment.

In fact, most 'fresh off the boat' employees are usually at a loss of how to react when they encounter sexual advances from fellow colleagues, be it an imposed hug, suggestive ogling or outright request for sex. The next move is deciding how to deal with the issue.

Some ignore the obnoxious colleague and pray that he or she will get bored soon enough. Others confide in a trusted colleague who can quietly tell off the grabby employee on the victim’s behalf -- quietly because most new employees will not want to create a scene right in the middle of their orientation.

“Have you met Sally...”

“Which Sally...”

“Sally… the new employee who slapped Richard by the water cooler. Oh she is feisty!”

Nobody wants to be talked about like that.

There is the option of going to the human resource managers or officers of course, but what happens when the head of HR is the one who claims to be having endless sleepless nights courtesy of your well-rounded bum?

What if both parties are consenting and it is a matter of willing buyer willing seller?

Still no…unless it is just the two of you running the company. As long as there are other employees in the organisation, it is a bad idea to have sexual relations with a fellow colleague and here are six reasons why:

Loss of objectivity and clouded judgement in decision making. Most of our decisions are drawn from perceptions and it is easy to be tolerant of mediocre work if it comes with a promise of mind-shattering orgasms. Eventually, such lapses in judgement end up causing more harm than good, affecting the entire company.

Sexual relations with co-workers also blurs the professionalism line making it very difficult to give or take criticism at the work place. A suggestion that would have been readily taken as constructive criticism prior to the relationship now becomes a personal attack, often flagged with many undertones of anger and sometimes insubordination that undermines a conducive work environment.

Promotes favouritism that threatens team work. Once you start relating beyond professionalism with a fellow colleague, chances are you will start playing favourites which will hurt the rest of the team and create bad blood. It gets worse when these relationships are cross-tiered and come with benefits such as extra pay and undeserved promotions.

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