Americans think the most inappropriate office behavior is gossip, not groping

Stop talking about your colleagues’ sex lives.
Stop talking about your colleagues’ sex lives.
Image: Reuters/Pascal Lauener
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Sexual harassment has transfixed American workplaces in the wake of the #MeToo movement, and the office behavior Americans are most likely to find inappropriate, even more so than physical contact, is gossiping about a colleague’s sex life.

NPR and Ipsos polled 1,130 American adults in January, asking them to rate potentially objectionable behaviors on a scale ranging from “always inappropriate” to “always appropriate.” Spreading rumors about colleagues’ sex lives surpassed deliberate touching and sexual jokes as the most recognized offense. Nearly 100% of respondents agreed such gossip is inappropriate—yet 39% say they’ve seen it happen at work.

Behaviors ranked by percentage of poll participants who say they are “inappropriate”


 of “inappropriate” behaviors among poll participants