SEXUAL HARASSMENT - Common Sense Advice for Men
There seems to be no end to the amount of women coming forward with tragic accounts of sexual harassment and assault from bosses and coworkers. It reveals just how pervasive this issue is in our culture. Here's a few common sense points for us men to keep in mind as we seek to promote a workplace free of sexual harassment and abuse. (Feel free to add more in the comments.)
1. Be an example. If you're a leader, you must take the lead in creating a culture that honors, respects and values the opposite sex. Vulgar talk and inappropriate conduct should never be a part of your character.
2. Promote policies that ensure a healthy work environment. Talk about sexual harassment, offer training and identity inappropriate behaviors. Empower victims with a safe pathway to register complaints.
3. Correct harassers. Don't be a silent accomplice. If you witness sexual harassment, or hear derogatory comments about women, speak up immediately and tell the harasser you find his behavior offensive and inappropriate.
4. Confront "locker room talk," even when a female colleague isn't present. Men of integrity will not tolerate conversations that demean or objectify women, especially their colleagues. Give your integrity a voice!
5. Support the individual being harassed. Be an ally for women who have experienced sexual harassment. Don't protect the harasser, and minimize the incident. Affirm the victim and empower their response.
6. Be professional. You're there to work, not to flirt or fool around, and neither are your opposite sex coworkers. Regard one another as competent professionals who strive for excellence and respect in the workplace.
7. Treat all women as though your wife is standing next to her. Pass all your remarks, gestures and actions through the imagined filter of "How would my wife feel about this if she were in this room?"
8. Always keep the door open. Try to avoid being alone with the opposite sex. But when that's not possible, always meet where doors can be left open as a protection to both of you.
9. Avoid unnecessary physical contact. There may be times when greeting an old acquaintance or giving a congratulatory hug is appropriate; otherwise, avoid putting your hands on the ladies. When contact is warranted, always be cautious, discreet and delicate (and refer to #7).
10. Stop blaming the women. Just because a female coworker is attractive or friendly (or is a subordinate), does not mean she's "interested in you," nor does it give you the right to touch, grope or make sexual advances toward her. Get a grip man! Grow up and control yourself!