by Linda Crockett
Example of One True Story: “Do you blame him, given how cute you are? Just ignore him!”
Example Two True Story: After a male supervisor wipes his sweaty forehead on your shirt, you report it to your manager, who replies, “That’s just old boys’ humor; let it go.”
Enough, no more excuses; this is sexual harassment.
Both comments are true stories that are highly inappropriate and demonstrate a lack of understanding and seriousness when it comes to addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. These comments are unprofessional and unethical and perpetuate a culture that tolerates and normalizes such behavior.
- “Do you blame him, given how cute you are? Just ignore him. “This comment is victim-blaming, implying that the victim’s appearance is a justification for the harassment they experienced. It also suggests that the victim should tolerate or ignore the harassment. Ignoring harassment will lead to a toxic work environment, which becomes harmful and costly to the targeted employee, their colleagues, family, and the organization.
- “Oh, that’s just old man humor; let it go. “This comment dismisses the harassment as harmless jokes or humor, disregarding the fact that any form of harassment, regardless of the age or intent of the person, is unacceptable. It minimizes the targeted justifiable employee’s feelings and experiences, making them feel they should not take their concerns seriously.
These comments fail to acknowledge the gravity of the situation, undermine the targeted employee’s feelings, and perpetuate a culture where sexual harassment is tolerated and trivialized. In a workplace, leadership must take all harassment complaints seriously, conduct a thorough investigation, and take appropriate actions to prevent future incidents and ensure a safe and respectful environment for all employees.
One day, this could be a loved one of yours! Will you enable it, or will you put a stop to it? It is time to reassess the old normal and end all forms of harassment.
Linda Crockett MSW, RSW, SEP, CPPA