Working in a smaller physician’s practice, I have not encountered the problem of flirting in the office between co-workers.  I remember when I did work for a large corporation though, we had policies regarding such issues.

It was very frowned upon and supervisors were on the lookout for “the all too friendly talks by the coffee pot.”

Since I have had no real experience with this topic, I decided to talk to my co-workers about it to see what polices or issues they have encountered in past employment.

One of my male co-workers had a very interesting story about when he worked for a large production plant.  He did shift and piecework so he hung out with the group of people he directly worked with for breaks and lunch.

He said that they all were very friendly and joked around with each other, but nothing inappropriate.  There was an older woman that kept talking to him; he thought she was nice as a co-worker.  She got his cell phone number from someone and began calling and texting him at all hours of the night.

He tried to ignore her, but she did not stop.  She began touching his arm when they talked and then out of the blue she kissed his neck.  This really upset him, and because he reacted negatively toward her affectionate action, she became angry and offended.

He sought the help of their onsite employee counselor because at the time he was young and did not know how to handle the situation. To make a long story short he got a transfer to a different team and a different shift.

As my co-workers and I talked more about this I asked them what they thought the proper protocols to follow in such situations and they came up with the following:

1. First, make sure that you are not the cause of drawing unwanted attention; i.e., suggestive clothing, flirty attitude, acting needy, etc.

2. Be subtle; say things that will let them know you are not interested, like letting them know you are dating someone.  Or jokingly say, “are you hitting on me?”  You also can just ignore them when they drop hints.  After a while most people will stop.

3. If they do not stop, be upfront with them, tell them you are not interested in any relationship with them besided being co-workers.

4. If they do not leave you alone then it is time to address the situation with a supervisor and ask them to step in to remedy the issue. You are at work to work, not to play the dating game.

How does your company handle situations like this?  Leave a comment and let us know.