'Can you ask someone out at work?' What is — and isn't — sexual harassment at the office.

Image by Time's Up/YouTube.

Avoiding sexual harassment in the workplace isn't hard. Please allow Donald Glover to explain.

Rashida Jones has directed a new animated video with voiceover from Donald Glover that breaks things down nicely. The video is the latest effort from Time's Up, an organization that was launched in early 2018 to help provide legal resources for women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted.

"Is the culture shifting under your feet so fast, maybe you can't make sense of it?" Glover asks.

What might be most surprising is how straightforward answers to the four questions are. In fact, they might seem deceptively simple, but there's nothing deceptive about it:

  1. Is it OK to greet a co-worker with a "deep, full-body hug" or a kiss on the mouth? No.
  2. Is it OK to think a co-worker looks sexy in their pants? Yes. "Sure, think away," Glover says. "But is it OK to tell that person you think they look sexy? Umm … no."
  3. Can you ask someone out at work? Maybe. Glover lists a number of power dynamic factors — Are you their boss? Are they potentially just being nice? etc. — before concluding, "If the answer to any of these questions is 'yes,' just don't do it."
  4. Do you need to report harassment when you see it or hear about it? Yes.

There's plenty of nuance when it comes to workplace behavior, and it can feel like things are getting more complicated all the time. Thankfully, this video reminds us that it's really not complicated at all.

Photos by Jean-Baptiste Lacroix/Getty Images and Kevin Winter/Getty Images.​

Navigating sexual misconduct in the workplace can seem difficult. It doesn't have to be.

It would be easy for Jones and Glover to lecture. Instead, they address the confusion and anxiety even those in positions of power are feeling as the clock runs out on a culture that permitted harassment and assault.

"The world is changing under your feet," Glover says, "ultimately for the better."

Basic respect, professionalism, and compassion for others are still the bedrock principles. And if that's too ambiguous, these four questions help keep it simple.


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