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Harassment in the News

I always like to start the week with some positivity!



Because sometimes the real stuff seems pretty arduous! Like the enjoyment of Thanksgiving; but maybe not the week leading up to it.

So let’s talk about food for a second, and the psychology of it. When we arrive at a restaurant, most of us don’t have in our mind that we intend to eat dessert. In fact, you are probably like me. You are thinking that you need to be a little careful, because too much food means too much weight.

Then at the end of the meal, the server discusses the desserts and sometimes even brings the dessert tray to the table. All of a sudden, that chocolate cake or peanut butter pie causes us to forget our immediate eating worries. Psychologists call it “present-focus bias“. What is right in front of us is what is important.

To date, I have not written about the instances of sexual harassment in the news. In fact, I suspect that many men are not discussing it. They just agree that it is wrong and that things need to change. This is a topic where there is no argument.

Sexual harassment is the present focus bias. Not long ago, it was racial issues and police brutality. Then guns and violence were in the news. Soon, the news was discussing whether Confederate monuments should be removed.

So I thought I would just give you some thoughts to consider. The dictionary defines sexual harassment as, “Uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, especially by a person in authority toward a subordinate“.

This falls within such framework that includes student/teacher and employer/employee.

As to employer/employee considerations, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines workplace harassment with these thoughts and potential guidelines:

Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.

Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

Although the law doesn’t prohibit simple teasing, offhand comments, or isolated incidents that are not very serious, harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).

The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.

This is a topic that could be a long blog. For now, I just wanted to use this forum to put these thoughts out there.

Hopefully, the current headlines will serve to truly bring awareness to the problem where no one feels that they just have to accept harassment, or have fear of speaking up, or take action to bring about change. For however long this is our primary focus, it should remain a focus. Maybe, it won’t just fade away into the news cycle

And for pic o’ day… this just makes me laugh. It’s all in a name!


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