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Can a leader ask if I am dating someone?

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I have a senior leader that has asked me 1.). Do you find yourself attractive? 2.). Are you dating anyone? 3.). Are you dating at all? Is there anything I can do?

These comment would be inappropriate. If they continue they could be considered sexual harassment. They can also be prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the unit. I have provided an extract of AR 600-20 below for your review.

AR 600-20 provides the following guidance:

7–5. Categories of sexual harassment

a. Verbal. Examples of verbal sexual harassment may include telling sexual jokes; using sexually explicit profanity, threats, sexually oriented cadences, or sexual comments; whistling in a sexually suggestive manner; and describing certain attributes of one’s physical appearance in a sexual manner. Verbal sexual harassment may also include using terms of endearment such as “honey”, “babe”, “sweetheart”, “dear”, “stud”, or “hunk” in referring to Soldiers, civilian co-workers, or Family members.

b. Hostile environment.

A hostile environment occurs when Soldiers or civilians are subjected to offensive, unwanted and unsolicited comments, or behaviors of a sexual nature. If these behaviors unreasonably interfere with their performance, regardless of whether the harasser and the victim are in the same workplace, then the environment is classified as hostile. A hostile environment brings the topic of sex or gender differences into the workplace in any one of a number of forms. It does not necessarily include the more blatant acts of “quid pro quo”; it normally includes nonviolent, gender-biased sexual behaviors (for example, the use of derogatory gender-biased terms, comments about body parts, suggestive pictures, explicit jokes, and unwanted touching). 7–7. Techniques of dealing with sexual harassment All Soldiers and civilians have a responsibility to help resolve acts of sexual harassment. Examples of how to accomplish this follows:

a. Direct approach. Confront the harasser and tell them that the behavior is not appreciated, not welcomed and that it must stop. Stay focused on the behavior and its impact. Use common courtesy. Write down thoughts before approaching the individual involved.

b. Indirect approach. Send a letter to the harasser stating the facts, personal feelings about the inappropriate behavior and expected resolution.

c. Third party. Request assistance from another person. Ask someone else to talk to the harasser, to accompany the victim, or to intervene on behalf of the victim to resolve the conflict.

d. Chain of command. Report the behavior to immediate supervisor or others in chain of command and ask for assistance in resolving the situation.

e. Filing a formal complaint. Details for filing an informal or formal complaint are included in appendix D.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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