03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Give Them What They Want: 5 Tips To Avoid Sexual Harrassment

Has the heady fragrance of Breast Health Month made it Sexual Harassment Month?

We have Dave joking about his office affair, Roman getting high profile help for raping a 13 year old, Coupled with the iPhone App that simulates looking up a co-workers skirt.

In Fiscal Year 2008, the Equal Emplyment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) received 13,867 charges of sexual harassment. Hey, I am not male bashing with these stats. 15.9% of those charges were filed by men. EEOC resolved 11,731 sexual harassment charges. They recovered $47.4 million in monetary benefits (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation).

Barry Halote, Ph.D., a leading expert in sexual discrimination, states that a great percentage of harassment cases go unreported due to the back lash experienced.
He encourages employers to take steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. "When management communicates that sexual harassment will not be tolerated fewer incidents occur." says Halote. Companies can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.

Here are unexpected tips to help avoid harassment.

You Teach People How To Treat You
From the first day you walk in the door act like a professional. Work is not a popularity contest. Set boundaries, and teach people how to treat you. Be aware of what you say and how you behave. Don't let the door be opened to disrespectful behavior.

Dress For Success
Sorry ladies. The advice is to dress conservatively. Sure, they wear mini skirts on TV and magazines. Don't do it at work. Sexy= Slutty when you are in the office. So, if you want to be taken seriously, then dress seriously.

Give Them What They Want
Sexual harassers are insecure human beings. The best way to diffuse harassment is to give them what they want: attention and praise. Complement them. If the harasser had more self respect they would treat others with more respect. Acknowledge their work, the plant on their desk or best of all their hobby. It will distract them from harassing you.

Nip It In The Bud
From the first smell of harassment be firm but confront the harasser.
"It makes me uncomfortable when you _____. " Short direct sentences and concrete examples work best.

Dear Diary
Keep a very detailed diary of the incidents. Listen to yourself. If you are at all uncomfortable, then something is wrong. If the behavior persists tell a supervisor. Harassment is illegal and you will want a very clear paper trail and as many witnesses as possible.

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Eli Davidson is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and executive coach. Her book, "Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Stories for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped", (Oak Grove Publishing) has won three national book awards. Eli is a reinvention catalyst, who can transform your professional and personal life from Funky to Fabulous with her ten, trademarked Turnaround Techniques that create rapid and remarkable results. Check out her blog at

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