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Old 01-23-2015, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Encino, CA
3,415 posts, read 2,893,826 times
Reputation: 5789

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Quote:
Originally Posted by vision33r View Post
Many years ago, I made the mistake of giving a female co-worker a compliment. I said along the lines that she looked really fit and I was issued a warning citation from HR dept that person took it that I was trying to hit on her.

If women want equality, how can such double standards exist?
You just dont say anything to a woman about her body in the workplace. You can say something about her hair if she just got a new style, or compliment on her shoes or whatever, but never ever say anything about her body. You never know how she's going to take and if she doesnt find you attractive, she could feel like its sexual harassment. Remember, its not what YOU think, its what SHE thinks and how she FEELS about whatever you say. Women jump back in their cars at gas stations a lot because they feel sexually threatened by "creepy" guys around who havent even said a thing to them. You just want to play it safe and say NOTHING about how her body looks in the workplace.

It doesnt matter how you say it, all that matters is how she feels about you saying it.
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Old 01-23-2015, 09:51 AM
 
264 posts, read 263,400 times
Reputation: 375
During decades of sexual harassment training at work, it was drummed into us that your comment or the intent of your comment is irrelevant. The only thing that counts is how it was received. If the woman thinks she's being harassed, she is being harassed and the guy will be punished. She is in charge.

It is not a two way street. I was in a situation many years ago where one of the women who worked for me began to leave me crazy love notes. She was crazy and it developed into a Fatal Attraction kind of thing. She even contacted a friend of mine and told him I was in love with her but couldn't admit it to myself because I was married. I immediately went to my boss with the first note and kept everyone, including my wife, informed every step of the way. Was anything done to her? Of course not. Everyone was too afraid to make an issue of it and I was very afraid that it would become a "he said, she said" kind of thing where I would lose for certain. Finally, my wife and I talked with her husband who reigned her in somehow and she soon left the company.

If you think the male/female thing in the workplace is balanced you are being very naive.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Long Island
8,507 posts, read 11,379,976 times
Reputation: 4759
To be honest, how uptight and on the defensive can a woman be that she can't take an honest "you look fit" as simply a compliment and make her day that much better? Some people are just robots.
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:48 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
72,663 posts, read 64,111,757 times
Reputation: 68410
Consider it this way. Which compliment sounds a little over-the-top and personal, vs. more appropriately neutral:


"Hey, Bob, lookin' buff today!"

or...

"Nice suit!"
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Old 01-23-2015, 10:49 AM
 
15,187 posts, read 16,035,343 times
Reputation: 25076
Quote:
Originally Posted by vision33r View Post
It was polite and I'm never the person to hit on someone openly with that sort of compliment, it was just a frank compliment in a conversation. Of course I never say it again at work but I hear women say the same thing to each other and I've gotten compliments from women saying that I always look fit and no issues.
While I'm sure you meant it as a simple complement, she must have taken it differently if she reported it to HR. It could be because she's a nut and sees sexual harassment everywhere she looks, or it could be that she's been harassed before and is very sensitive because of that, or it could be that something about you made her uncomfortable. In any case, you learned from it and that's important.

I used to work out early in the morning at a gym where there weren't a lot of other people in the weight room and I was often the only woman. One of the guys there was very friendly and complimented my legs several times. He wasn't creepy, and I knew he meant well, but it made me uncomfortable. One day he said very loudly something like, "Guys, doesn't she have the best legs in the gym?" and it made me and the men there squirm. I pulled the guy aside and told him that I knew he was being nice buy he was making me uncomfortable and he never said anything again. Even when a person is very nice, it can be very awkward to have someone make remarks about your body.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,334,463 times
Reputation: 48613
Commenting on anybody's physical appearance in the workplace is a sticky thing, and I just wouldn't do it. As a woman, with men, women, anybody.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:03 AM
 
264 posts, read 263,400 times
Reputation: 375
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Consider it this way. Which compliment sounds a little over-the-top and personal, vs. more appropriately neutral:


"Hey, Bob, lookin' buff today!"

or...

"Nice suit!"
A woman could say either to a man and he'd not think anything of it. Both are benign. I've had people say, "nice suit" many times over the years, but they were always being sarcastic.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:04 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,464 posts, read 22,692,102 times
Reputation: 45129
Quote:
Originally Posted by TabulaRasa View Post
Commenting on anybody's physical appearance in the workplace is a sticky thing, and I just wouldn't do it. As a woman, with men, women, anybody.
And expecting the workplace to be professional isn't necessarily "uptight." Women will get remarks about their appearances all the time (as if their appearance is up for public comment,) but at work, that's not why she's there. If you want to pay a compliment, say "that report was really impressive" or "I like that comment you made in this morning's meeting."
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Middle America
35,817 posts, read 39,334,463 times
Reputation: 48613
Yep. A good rule of thumb.

You can be cordial to coworkers, note appreciation for the work they are doing, the skills they bring to the table, etc., without resorting to potentially making people uncomfortable by making comments on their physical appearance. Find something relevant upon which to comment. How nice somebody looks in that sweater is generally not relevant to what's going on at work.
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Old 01-23-2015, 11:27 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
72,663 posts, read 64,111,757 times
Reputation: 68410
Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosh01 View Post
A woman could say either to a man and he'd not think anything of it. Both are benign. I've had people say, "nice suit" many times over the years, but they were always being sarcastic.
If my supervisor had heard me say to a male co-worker, "Lookin buff today!", I'd have gotten a talking-to about appropriate behavior in the workplace.
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