Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Co-Worker Getting Too Close for Comfort

DEAR HARRIETTE: My co-worker makes me feel uncomfortable. I work in a casual environment, and it’s a small business, so everyone knows one another well. A co-worker I interact with weekly has been getting too close for comfort. Recently, we had a lunch meeting, and as we were walking he touched the small of my back while walking through a crowd. It was awkward and unexpected. Since that lunch meeting, he gets close during conversations and touches my arm. If we're sitting down, he will touch my leg. He hasn't done anything else, but I don't want his actions to get worse. Should I confront him before I talk to HR? -- Uncomfortable, Dundalk, Maryland

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Before he does anything else, ask him if you can talk to him about something. Tell him that you do not appreciate the fact that he has been touching you so much. Ask him to stop. Tell him that if he touches you again, you will report him to HR.

If you have a boss separate from HR, you may want to say something to him or her to make it known that you are being harassed by this man. Tread carefully, though. Even in 2018, employees often find it difficult to file claims of sexual harassment and continue to rise in their companies.

Pay close attention to what this man does. If he gets out of hand, you may want to engage outside counsel to help you navigate this situation. If you want to seek legal counsel, learn more at