Tuesday, March 20, 2012

No means no

There came a time in my former employment that the County saw fit to make me a supervisor, and we both learned a lot from that experience.

Not everyone learns.

When the topic turns to sexual harassment prevention, and how the training is conducted, it would pay for more people to sit up and pay attention.  The point that the instructors keep trying to make is that it really doesn't matter if the things you say or do or exhibit are things that you don't consider offensive.  It's what the recipient thinks, and that's as it should be.

Consider this case out in LA. This firefighter had already suffered enough by being the victim of sexual abuse as a child.  When it became public knowledge that he had been a victim, clearly making jokes about it was stupid...and wrong...and illegal. 

And it gets even worse when someone comes to their supervisor and reports harassment on the job.  Failure to act on the part of the supervisor will cost many people in many ways.  Apparently, this firefighter did that and nothing was done about it, and now the taxpayers will have to shell out beacoup dolares to settle a matter that should have been nipped in the bud.

The standard case is, a female comes to work in a hitherto all-male workplace.  She is offended by Playboy centerfolds displayed publicly, by being called untoward names and by being given the raw deal in other ways.  It's bad enough when her coworkers are behaving so crudely, but when she reports their actions to the supervisor, it is incumbent upon that person to take corrective action.

The interesting point here is that this is also reflected in other parts of society.  "Majority rules" is the policy in elections, but it's not how we set rules.  This is why public schools can no longer endorse a certain religion. It doesn't matter if 99 students out of 100 are of that persuasion.  If it makes someone feel excluded or diminished, it's not going to be permitted.

In my time, I have seen the days when people of different races, sexual orientations, faiths, and national origins have been brutalized - physically and emotionally - and to make it even worse, it was permissible by law.  Not so any longer, and for that, we thank the progressive movement, which continues to bring America out of the past and into a brighter future.

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