In a solo episode, Beverly talks about sexual harassment. This is an age-old issue which unfortunately many women and even men have experienced personally or know someone who has.
What can we do to address situations where sexual harassment exists or when we observe someone who appears uncomfortable by the attention of another?
There may even be a need to address sexually harassing behavior that has taken place in the past. For example, prompted by media reports of past sexual misconduct by its new, recently hired general manager, majority owner of the New York Mets of Major League Baseball, Steven A. Cohen took swift action. The Mets are now looking for a new GM.
Until the Mets’ situation was publicized, sexual harassment appeared to lay dormant, at least in the media. We know with certainty however that sexual harassment has not been eradicated.
That is why Beverly is shining a light on this topic. She reminds us that typically harassment is a form of intimidation by people in power. Several examples of what is and is not acceptable are also provided. Please note that the examples are just that. There is conduct not mentioned that may give rise to sexual harassment.
Beverly begins by identifying unacceptable conduct. Agreement that these behaviors are not appropriate is the first step to changing the culture.
What is okay and not okay:
- Keep your hands to yourself. Yes, this seems obvious, but Beverly explains that some may not understand that well-intentioned actions (a hug for example) can be unwelcome.
- We all know the Golden Rule. Beverly also shares the Platinum Rule. This is simple to understand and is a good policy for conduct at work.
- There should be a policy that also explains who you can turn to for support. It should be easy to understand and to implement.
- Men can be harassed as well as women, and same sex/gender harassment also occurs. Everyone should be encouraged to report sexual harassment and be supported.
- What do you do if you witness harassment? Beverly explains what you can do.
- What is a love contract, and does it help?
- People should not be expected to “avoid” harassers. Their workplaces should be safe without the need to proactively protect themselves.
Sexual harassment should never be ignored. We have all heard if you see something say something. Beverly explains that some people may not be comfortable saying something in the moment. The next option is to find someone immediately who can do or say something.
Beverly ends with helpful Q&A. Every person deserves a safe workplace free of intimidation and harassment. This is not legal advice specifically but guidelines in general that can help you promote a work environment where everyone feels safe and valued.