I've briefly read information on harrasment at work from south african law perspective. They suggest that a witness should corroborate the discriminating statements made by co-worker.

A brief story of what happened. I was walking down the hallway when the coworker in question says I should take his cup of coffee to the kitchen. I replied, "I'm not a domestic worker". He responded with, "Are you sure? You look like one".

What are my options, to pursue this matter further?

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    That's not "unethical", that's abuse, plain and simple. – Philip Kendall Mar 1 '17 at 18:47
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    We're not attorneys. Have you tried human resources? – Xavier J Mar 1 '17 at 18:48
  • I'll try human resources. Unfortunately, the company doesn't follow high standards for human resources. I'll ask a labour lawyer. But, they're damn expensive. From experience, human resources in south africa is not up to standards with international industries – user2704180 Mar 1 '17 at 18:49
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    If HR won't help much and legal action is too expensive, and likely not that helpful here either, your list of options are limited. Find another job, or completely avoid speaking to/looking at the person again. – pay Mar 1 '17 at 18:56
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    If you don't have a good witness who will corroborate your story, there's not much point in going to anyone, for a matter like this. – Herb Wolfe Mar 1 '17 at 19:40

This is a clear violation of harassment rights. You should have a meeting with your manager and HR about the problem.

If you don't feel physically threatened by the person, when it happens next respond calmly with "your comments are harassment and must stop." If you do feel physically threatened do not engage. It's not worth getting broken bones over. Sticks and stones, et al.

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    Not threatened by him. It's just that these kind of things plays on your subconscious mind. I know I'm very skilled at what I do. I suspect this person might be a narcissist. Anyway this company has a very high staff turnover in the department i work in – user2704180 Mar 1 '17 at 20:24
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    The high turnover suggest something. Find a new job! – Alic Mar 1 '17 at 20:33
  • Just tired of corporates with their red-tape and bureaucracy. If i could make enough money free-lancing i would rather do that – user2704180 Mar 1 '17 at 20:42

This is hardly worth the effort of going to HR. Laugh it off and remember this clown. If it escalates then that is another matter.

You should have verbally riposted in the first instance. You were asking for a nasty comeback by your initial reply and shouldn't have made that comment unless you were prepared to back it up then and there.

Making a fuss over 'Are you sure, you look like one.' may or may not get him in trouble, but it will definitely make you look weak and whiny. Save your battles for something more concrete. If you must, then mention it to your manager, a good manager would have a quiet word with the chap and warn him privately.

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    Makes sense. I'll keep that in mind and rather avoid the person – user2704180 Mar 2 '17 at 6:45
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    If this particular case is just a single occurance it "could" be seen as a co-worker doing the whole punch back and forth routine. Some people get closer to each-other by lightly insulting each-others. This seems to have gone past that line, but unless it happens more than once, I would ignore it myself. If you don't like it, tell him. If he refuses, THEN go to HR. – Migz Mar 2 '17 at 9:44
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    I don't want to dismiss the issue, because it clearly bothered you enough to ask the question, but based on the conversation you used as an example, it sounds to me like he could be a socially inept person trying to banter a little. I've worked with many people who think they are being funny with co-workers and it just comes off flat. I would probably just ignore him, I certainly wouldn't see harassment if I were in that conversation. Making noise about it will most likely draw attention to your thin skin rather than your co-worker. – bluegreen Mar 3 '17 at 13:56
  • Thanks for the insight. If it was one occurrence i would let it slide, but because the person has made numerous uncalled for remarks. I get the point though. Its better to avoid people like this – user2704180 Mar 5 '17 at 6:33

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