Friday, January 17, 2020

New Sexual Harassment Rules

Even with the most noble intentions we sometimes get too zealous. The #MeToo movement, designed to call out workplace sexual harassment, has morphed into an effort to police intersexual social interaction between colleagues, both within and without the office.

So it goes in Great Britain.

Women have wanted to be included in after-hours pub crawls. They have wanted to be included in all-male clubs. And yet, we now discover, amazingly, that they want to change the game. Since some of what goes on in male bonding rituals is vulgar, to say the least, women now insist that such vulgarity be strictly forbidden. It’s like the woman who wants to play touch football but who insists that no one is allowed to touch her.

The result will certainly be that men will think twice and even three times before ever inviting a woman to an off-premises social function. Socializing between men and women, like men mentoring women, is going to be rendered obsolete.

Besides, the goalposts are shifted every week or so, so how can a man know whether what some women accepted as harmless banter has now been declared a thought crime? Why take the risk? 

Such is the price of turning the thought police loose on workplace relationships.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Pub banter and joked with colleagues can amount to sexual harrassment even if unintended and businesses must train staff to be aware of risks at after-work events, the equality watchdog has warned.

Unwanted jokes and even facial expressions can also amount to unacceptable behaviour even if 'that is not how it was intended', warns Rebecca Hilsenrath, who chairs the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

She outlined the concerns in a letter to 400 major firms which called for stringent anti-harassment policies in light of the 'Me Too' scandal.

The 'unwanted conduct' highlighted also includes pranks, social media contact and mimicry, the letter said.

Think about it, would you want to socialize with someone who might report you to the authorities for having the wrong facial expression. 

Sexual harassment offences can include 'suggestive looks, staring or leering' as well as intrusive questions about a person's sex life.

There were also warnings against spreading sexual rumours and unwelcome hugging, massaging, kissing and touching.

Mrs Hilsenrath said employers are responsible for any action which falls 'within the course of employment', including after-work drinks in the pub or leaving dos.

And now, employers will be held responsible for the leering looks a man might direct toward a female coworker at an after-hours club. Does this make you more or less likely to hire more women?


sestamibi said...

MRS Hilsenrath??! Boy, I'd sure hate to be MR Hilsenrath.

Anonymous said...

I see to recall reading about female concentration camp guards.

Perhaps Conde Nast will answer the aspirational call and start up a new magazine (or its digital equivalent.)

Anonymous said...

It doesn't matter if this makes you less inclined to hire women. If you don't hire them, that will get you in trouble too.