Sexual Harassment
Posted on Monday, 17 July 2017
DJ Fatboy Slim suggested in the late nineties that, ‘we’ve come a long, long way together and we should celebrate that’, I’m paraphrasing but that’s more or less the sentiment. Yes, we have come a long way from the days of old; weeks-delayed postcards to overseas loved ones have become instantaneous FaceTime conversations and Google translate has thwarted countless verbal misunderstandings abroad. And despite having come a long way itself, the odious presence of sexual harassment still lingers in organizations around the world, thus, it still has a long way to go.

Each and every member of each and every organisation has the right to go to work and not be sexually harassed, it’s that simple. Sexual harassment has no place in business and has no business being in the workplace, or anywhere for that matter, and should not be accepted as a given thing.

If your apartment has roaches you don’t just shrug your shoulders and accept that your apartment has roaches, because they spread bacteria and germs, you do something about it. Sexual harassment is basically a cockroach spreading bacteria around. So, just as you have the right to not suffer this germ-ridden vermin in your workplace, you have the responsibility to deal with it, to do something about it, whether you are the boss or the new work experience recruit.

Begin by recalling one simple fact: sexual harassment is illegal. It is a violation of a person’s human rights. At the risk of sounding as maudlin as an optimistic Broadway musical, there’s a leader inside of all of us, everyone can lead; everyone has the ability to set a higher standard of respectful and professional conduct in the workplace. And those with ability to take action have the responsibility to take action, and to encourage others to do the same.

Anyone with a younger sibling will surely be well versed in the power of ignoring things; the little sister’s constant vying for attention or the little brother’s seemingly infinite ability to be annoying. But sexual harassment is not a nagging younger sibling, and thus, should never be ignored, or brushed off, or let slide, or swept under the rug. Like a stern man near a forest, every complaint of sexual harassment is serious by nature. As a result, those complaints and by extension their complainants must be treated accordingly: seriously and with the utmost respect.

If you find yourself in the unenviable and unpleasant position of the receiving end of sexual harassment in the workplace, remember that you have your employee handbook and workplace contract to consult to help guide you through. It will undoubtedly be an emotional experience, so having the formal processes in writing to aid the complaints process will likely be invaluable throughout the procedure. Just remember through it all that you are not to blame for somebody harassing you.

Think back to when you were young and you and your siblings and friends and cousins would run about like wild animals playing some made up game with some made up rules having the time of your lives. And then all of a sudden the game inevitably got out of hand and one of you would sound a battle cry and mom and dad would burst in to dish out some wisdom that would see the next round of the game a little more considerate. Active managerial and bystander input in the workplace plays an important part in reducing the harm and tolerance of sexual harassment in the workplace.

It should be noted that the tolerance level for sexual harassment in the workplace should be set firmly at negative four hundred and fifty nine point six seven degrees Fahrenheit, with no room for movement, much like atoms at zero Kelvin aka Absolute Zero. Zero tolerance – that point can’t be hit home enough.

While Gran may bust out the terms of endearment for her grandkids, and parents offer embarrassing affectionate monikers as they drop off kids at school, as a strict rule moving forward everyone must avoid, avoid, and avoid any ideas of nodding “sweetheart” at a co–worker. Sweet nothings are more readily definable as sleazy grotesqueries in the workplace.