I recently had a someone tell me about a situation they were in. This female we’ll call Jane, had a male counterpart, whom we will call John, walk up to her and tell her he wants her to take off her underwear, how he thinks she would taste, and more disgusting details that I am not going to put in this blog. John did it in front of other co-workers and they all laughed at it. Jane told him to stop, it was disgusting, and she didn’t want to hear that.
John continued to say these things to Jane and a boss overheard it. The boss simply told John to stop talking that way to Jane. John continued talking that way to Jane after the boss left. Jane then went to the head of the company to report John. Jane is now being bullied by other co-workers, saying that it was all fun and she shouldn’t have said anything.
What do you think of this situation? With today’s training on anti-harassment, shouldn’t John know that he has crossed a line? Shouldn’t the boss know how to handle this situation to make sure it stops and make sure that Jane is not bullied by reporting him?
How many people reading this story find it hard to imagine that a work environment would tolerate this, especially with the #MeToo movement active in the media? Does this mean that trainings are not being done correctly or that people are not taking the training seriously? How would you react if you were Jane, that boss, or that leader of the company? Would you tolerate it or would you stand up and stop it?
Now imagine we change the people in this story to students, teachers, and a principal. Why are we not teaching our children what we expect of them as adults? Why do we allow children to act like this and then discipline them for the same actions as adults, because now it is wrong?
When my 15-year-old daughter told me this exact story and how humiliated and frustrated she was, it broke my heart. If this was an employee, would he not have been disciplined, provided training, and then terminated when the behavior continued? Would those harassing Jane because she reported the behavior be provided harassment training as well? Why do children think this is okay? Because this is school and not work? Perhaps if we started the harassment training at a younger age, the #MeToo movement would not have been such a big event.
As an employer, make sure you train your employees on anti-harassment and how to respect each other. Don’t just assume that people should know and understand the difference between right and wrong. Also, if you have the opportunity to be a parent, don’t overlook this topic while having the “Talk”. Teach them now so together we can end the #MeToo movement.
For assistance on building your anti-harassment training, reach out to OmniaHR today.