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Is office decor harassment?

Harassment is a very tricky subject because it is not always that overt. You do have cases of a boss saying something discriminatory about women, minorities or something of this nature, clearly singling out a worker or a group of workers. But these events are less common than they used to be, and harassment often takes on a more subtle form in the modern day.

For instance, some have pointed out that even office decorations could constitute harassment. Examples they give include:

  • A worker hanging up a Confederate flag inside their cubicle
  • A man hanging up pictures of women in bikinis
  • A woman setting a Bible on top of her desk to make sure everyone knows what religion she follows, or hanging up cross decorations on the wall

In each case, the worker may feel that their choices are fine. These are just the things they like, and they are just decorating their own space.

But is the first worker's goal actually to harass minority workers in a nearby office by flaunting the Confederate flag and reminding them of slavery in America? Is the man's choice of pictures just meant to sexualize women and make female coworkers feel inferior and objectified? Is the woman's goal not to express what she loves about her own religion but just to shove it in front of a co-worker who follows a different faith and who has already told her that he or she does not want to convert?

In cases like these, decor choices could raise some very serious questions. Those who face harassment need to know what legal options they have.

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