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Are You Being Sexually Harassed By A Customer?

Sexual harassment is a delicate subject, so here's some advice on how to deal with it when it's coming from one of your clients.
November 23, 2001

It's not just a boss/employee conflict nor is it only a big-company problem: Sexual harassment in the workplace occurs in a variety of relationships, including those between customers and suppliers. And it doesn't have to be a blatant demand for sex in exchange for business; sexual harassment can take the form of a wide range of inappropriate behaviors, including a client who tells dirty jokes, makes repeated sexual innuendoes or uses offensive language.

As a business owner dealing with a problem with a customer, you don't have legal recourse under the statutes governing sexual harassment in the workplace. Although you may have other legal avenues, depending on the laws in your state and the creativity of your attorney, you probably wouldn't want to get involved in a lawsuit anyway. So here's some advice for dealing with customers who are harassing you:

If you find you're having a hard time developing an effective action plan for dealing with the harassment, you might want to consider a therapy session with a counselor. A good therapist can help you understand your feelings and come up with a solution that's comfortable and workable for you.