Politics, according to Wiki, is the process of making uniform decisions applying to all members of a group. It also involves the use of power by one person to affect the behavior of another person.
The use of power is what I would like to discuss, nah rant about, today. It is sometimes referred to as office politics. One of the forms that office politics takes on is harassment. Harassment I unfortunately found out is misunderstood. When I talked to my office mates about it, they all refer to sexual harassment and by men towards women. Not many realized that harassment could be very subtle. Or even if it's overt, what is happening is not referred to by the perpetrator or by the receiver as harassment. The perpetrator would often say she is merely expressing herself or worse yet "being true to oneself". The receiver on the other hand would see it as "minaldita" or bad behavior.
Being true to oneself is a sweeping statement. It includes our likes and dislikes, religious views, sexuality, attitudes, behaviors, personality, and a host of things. Attitude according to psychologists is what we feel towards people, things, places, and situations. Behavior is how we react to people's attitudes, to conditions of things and places, and kinds of situations. Both are pretty much in the moment. Personality on the other hand is fairly long-term and immutable.
If our co-worker gives us "attitude" or is being rude to us, it might be because we said or did something to provoke it. But if the discourtesy or the "intimidating non-verbal behaviors" is regular no matter the provocation or lack thereof, it is not just bad behavior, it is already harassment. According to a lawyer I talked to, it is considered harassment when and if we already feel uncomfortable about it. If we feel like slapping someone for constantly giving us a malevolent stare, then definitely it is harassment. As mentioned above, bad behavior is to a person, place, or situation we do not like. If we dislike our co-worker, good manners and office policies do not allow us to show our dislike. They encouraged us to talk and resolve our differences. But on the other hand we are unable to do so, the least we can do is ignore each other. But even that, pointedly ignoring someone, is considered a form of bullying or harassment.
What is even more sad are the reasons behind the harassment. More often than not they are rooted in religious moralizing. Religious morality has no place in a work place. Only ethics or moral philosophy should be allowed to exist in it. Moral philosophy and religious morality are not synonymous with each other.
To Muslims, eating pork is "extremely unholy act--an abomination before God". To Catholics and most of the protestant religions, it is not. To Catholics and most of the protestant religions, having more than one spouse is immoral. To Muslims, it is not. Those are religious morality. Ethics or moral philosophy on the other hand is about whether our actions and behaviors are harming or helping others. While eating pork in front of a Muslim may offend them, the act does not hurt them physically or does not bring them long-term psychological harm. The same way that a male Muslim having many wives may upset us, it's never harmful to us in any way.
So, giving our co-worker the evil eye every time we see them or directing malicious remarks to their backs every time they are within hearing or speaking distance because their personal decisions are religiously offensive to us has no place in the office. Whatever religious or imaginary reasons we have for disliking an office mate, harassment is not the best alleviation to what ails our minds. It might be satisfactory for a few minutes, but the problem will persist because the source of our grievance may not know their actions are making us uncomfortable. But then their romantic and sexual relationships should never cause us concern. They should never affect how we perform our jobs.
The only indignation that is acceptable is that which relates to our job. If we're honest and not afraid, we tell our office mates our concern. If not, then we seethe in silence. Because even passive-aggressive behavior is non-verbal aggression, another form of harassment.