Harassment Scenarios

1. Clarence and Katherine had a fight. To get back at her, Clarence begins telling his friends that she has a sexually transmitted disease.

  Harassment

You’re right. Spreading vicious rumors about someone would definitely fall into the categories of being unwanted, disrespectful behavior. This definitely is harassment.

  Flirting

No way. Flirting is behavior that is welcomed, fun, and often returned. This is definitely not in those categories. Stay away from this behavior.

2. Every time Heather glances at Eric, she catches him looking at her before he looks away. One day, Heather approaches Eric and asks him what is his “problem.” He tells her that he doesn’t have a “problem,” but would like to get to know her better. She says, “Why didn’t you say so?” and they become better acquainted.

  Harassment

Probably not. It sounds like Eric may be checking out the possibility of getting to know Heather better, but he isn’t going about it in a harassing way. Looks like Heather is returning his interest. Sounds like a good example of flirting.

  Flirting

I think so! It sounds like both Eric and Heather are interested in getting to know one another better. I hope things work out for them.

3. Kevin works at a local pizza shop. One night, he forgets to turn off the pizza oven. The next day, his supervisor tells him that if he will go out on a date with her, she will not report it to the store owner.

  Harassment

You bet it’s harassment. Kevin could be afraid of losing his job if he doesn’t date his supervisor. What if he doesn’t want to date his supervisor? It’s wrong for someone in a position of power over someone else, like a boss or supervisor, to use that power to control another person’s behavior. This is definitely harassment. Poor Kevin.

  Flirting

This isn’t flirting. Kevin might not want to say no to his supervisor because he’s afraid of losing his job. That’s the wrong way to go about getting a date. Regardless of whether or not Kevin wants to date his supervisor, this is harassing behavior.

4. Seeing Keisha in dress for the first time, Jamal says, “I’ve never seen you in a dress—you look great!”

  Flirting

You’re right! Flirting frequently involves a compliment.

  Harassment

I don’t think so. Even if Keisha doesn’t really like the guy, he was just telling her that she looked nice. That’s a compliment. A good example of flirting.

5. Lucas would like to ask Meghan out, but he doesn’t have the nerve. When he sees her coming down the hall, he tries to block her way to see if she’ll talk to him. When she tries to walk around him, he stretches his arm across her path so she cannot get by.

  Flirting

This is a tricky one. If Meghan likes Lucas, she would probably be thrilled that he is giving her attention. The problem is that he isn’t giving Meghan a choice of whether or not to talk to him. Everyone deserves a choice. If he is flirting with Meghan, he’s going about it in the wrong way.

  Harassment

Only Meghan can tell us for sure, but Lucas needs to give Meghan a choice of whether or not to talk to him. Never force a person to have a conversation with you. There are better ways to “flirt” and get to know someone.

6. Randolph is leaving the football field when one of the cheerleaders blows him a kiss. He’s a little embarrassed, but decides to walk over to her and say hello.

  Flirting

Only Randolph can say for sure if this is flirting and not harassment. After all, he did get embarrassed. Hopefully, Randolph was not embarrassed enough to feel like he was being harassed. I’m betting they ended up friends. I’d say flirting.

  Harassment

Perhaps Randolph did get embarrassed enough to feel harassed. Hopefully he was able to put the embarrassment behind him and they became friends. I don’t think it would be considered harassment, but only Randolph can answer that question.