Almost 100% of women say this is the most uncomfortable work situation

Recent research from Paychex revealed that when it comes to uncomfortable work situations, it is a little different for men versus women. The survey, which collected self-reported responses from 1,0005 Americans in 2017 ages 18 to 76, found that 63.4% of male employees don’t mind workplace “flirting,” compared to 48.8% of female employees. 

Recent research from Paychex revealed that when it comes to uncomfortable work situations, it is a little different for men versus women. The survey, which collected self-reported responses from 1,005 Americans in 2017 ages 18 to 76, found that 63.4% of male employees don’t mind workplace “flirting,” compared to 48.8% of female employees.

Also, when it comes to workplace “intimacy,” 46.9% of men are OK with this, versus 22.9% of women. While 88.9% of Americans say they notify HR about problems they run into at work “less than half of the time,” 11.1% say they do this “at least half of the time.”

People really don’t want to deal with this at work

The research broke down “the most uncomfortable workplace situations” in terms of gender.

Here are the top five ways that women responded:

  • “Comments about intimate activities:” 97.2%
  • “Accidentally grazing (more than once):” 93.6%
  • “Uninvitingly massaging shoulders:” 92.9%
  • “Only staring below the neckline when conversing:” 90.5%
  • “Sending flirty emojis:” 89.3%

Furthermore, here are the three most popular reasons why women would “seek HR:” “comments about personal intimate activities” (89.8%), “accidentally grazing (more than once)” (84.1%) and “talking inappropriately about other women” (72.6%).

The research also found that 49.3% of women said they’d experienced sexual harassment on the job, and that 23.2% in this category had witnessed “other colleagues” going through the same thing but didn’t step in.

Here are the top five “most uncomfortable workplace situations” for men

  • “Putting hands on legs:” 88.4%
  • “Playful touching:” 82.4%
  • “Touching hands during conversation:” 81.7%
  • “Accidentally grazing (more than once):” 80.5%
  • “Continuously insisting on meeting alone outside of work:” 74.2%

These are the three most common reasons why men would get HR involved: “putting hands on legs” (86.4%), “playful touching” (78.1%) and “accidentally grazing” (70.8%).

The data shows that 20.5% of men say they’ve gone through sexual harassment in the office, but 11.8% of men in this category had witnessed this happening to other workers, “but didn’t get involved.”

Colleagues and managers engage in workplace sexual harassment

These are the top three ways women say that their bosses and coworkers have done this at work:

  • “Standing very close during conversation:” 63.8% coworkers, 38.9% supervisors
  • “Only staring below the neckline when conversing:” 57.0% coworkers, 24.5% supervisors
  • “Talking inappropriately about other women:” 55.4% coworkers, 28.2% supervisors

Here are the top three ways men say that their bosses and coworkers have contributed to this in the office:

  • “Standing very close during conversation:” 69.1% coworkers, 43.6% supervisors
  • “Making suggestive comments and jokes about appearance:” 57.0% coworkers, 32.7% supervisors
  • “Bragging about intimate encounters:” 56.7% coworkers, 28.7% supervisors

How racial discrimination plays out at work

Here are the most common ways that people of different backgrounds have experienced this in the office.

  • Asian-American: “Asking where an employee really comes from,” 85.2%
  • African-American: “Remarking an employee sounds or acts white,” 71.1%
  • Caucasian: “Asking an employee to do lower-level tasks over an employee of another race,” 64.2%
  • Hispanic: “Using racial stereotypes to gauge work quality,” 74.5%

Furthermore, the research showed that while 42.1% of those surveyed said they’d gone through “racial discrimination,” 59.4% of people in this category said they’d seen someone else going through it “but didn’t get involved.”

Jane Burnett|is a reporter for Ladders and can be reached at jburnett@theladders.com.