VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES | Community Discussion
August 01, 1998|There are three conditions that must be met for behavior to be considered "harassment." These would be: unwanted, sexual or gender-based, and behavior that affects the terms, conditions or privileges of the workplace. In this case, this comment was unwanted. She may have not said anything and he may not have thought so, but it was unwanted. and When we think of Dolly Parton and draw a picture of her, we're going
to draw a woman with large breasts. This makes that comment gender-based and sexual. You must always assume sexual or gender-based comments are unwanted. and If he was provided sexual harassment training and he knew the
policies, then his employer had every right to fire him. If an employer provides training on harassment, it is covered and any employee can be fired for his or her conduct. If he was not provided the training, then the employer owed him training and policies on procedures on the workplace. He was never informed that that kind of behavior is unacceptable. It might be obvious to some but unless you are specifically told, you might not realize that a friendly comment can be taken in a different way. and The actions taken against this man might appear extreme when he could
have been given a written or verbal warning. But unfortunately, companies are so scared about potential lawsuits that they sometimes take actions that are extreme. and Generally, the person has a right to know who is bringing accusations
against them. The company is required by law to conduct an investigation that is "complete, thorough and objective." and It's important for people to know that an alleged harasser has rights
as well. Everyone deserves to be told what is and isn't harassment prior to making a costly mistake. and Through education and even through the media, everyone can learn.
Harassment-prevention specialist, president of Parallux Education, Santa Monica