Sexual Harassment Policies
Q: Sexual harassment is in the mind of the receiver.
Well, not always but sometimes. All a man has to do is compliment a
fellow co-worker on his/her apperance and boom, you got sexual
harassment. Even though nothing sexual is mentioned. I had the same
problem when I invited a lady co-worker to lunch. Boss gace me a
serious warning about sexual harassment. Ok, no problem. Me and the
rest of the crew (3 guys and 4 women) went to lunch "alone" together
and laughed about the dumb broad.
the consequence ?
A: 1. Know your audience. 2. Know your audience. 3. Know your audience. I say this as a woman working in what is still pretty much a male-dominated profession (and in an area that is pretty ethnically mixed). The trash we talked *would* get us major busted in other environments. And I personally got very caught totally checking out a male co-worker who usually showed up in T-shirt and jeans but came in one day in a gorgeous olive-green Italian suit. But if we weren't already pals I would have been a lot more circumspect. (Might have gone down the hall to schmooze with the resident Wild Women and said something like, "Did you see Peter in that suit? Rwowwwr" though ;-) But the audience was well known, and we as the *audience* were responsible for letting others know when our personal limits were stretched. "Don't go there" was well-understood and totally respected. The consequences of not practicing due diligence on this sort of thing are pretty severe. In a "class for new managers" seminar I took at the career center, the advice was "if you see ANYTHING remotely like this, consult HR or your legal counsel immediately and follow their instructions on how to proceed. Do not free-lance." That being said, some people do have hair triggers and like playing the victim for some reason (which unfortunately makes it worse for people with legit complaints) and some HR departments and managers don't have well-thought-out and -articulated policies. (The VBC had *lots* of examples of Things Not to Do to go along with the policies.)
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