Presentation on theme: "Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime"— Presentation transcript:
1Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime Sexual Harassment in the WorkplacePresented bySharyn Alvarez,National Federal Women’s Program ManagerCivil Rights Division, NRCSHelloMy name is Sharyn Alvarez and I am the National Federal Women’s Program Manager for NRCSI bring greetings from Andrew Johnson, Director of the Civil Rights Division and my supervisor.The civil rights division part of national headquarters staff and is located in Beltsville, Maryland.Your conference organizers invited me to be part of your program. And asked that I speak to you today about sexual harassment.I have titled my presentation any one, any where, any time after the sexual harassment poster that says it can happen to anyone, anywhere at anytime.
2Any one, Any place, Any time Managing your career meansProtecting yourself by being awareKnowledgeable of the policy and lawDeveloping skills to handle situationsThere are many ways to manage your career. Developing the skills to handle unpleasant situations.It is as important as being technically sound employee. If is also important that you develop people skills too.
3Defining the terms Sex Discrimination Sex Harassment is not sexual, it is harassment because of gender. This can be rude, abusive or intimidating behavior.Sexual Harassment it is harassment of a sexual natureQuid pro quo - Latin for “this for that.” It is requests for sexual acts in return for favoritism in employment.Hostile Work Environment - behavior that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment.For an action to be considered “Harassment” it must be unwelcomed by the person who it is being directed towards.There should be a copy of this in your handout.
4Sexual Harassment is . . .About power, about intimidation, preserving the status quo, superiority and control.Exploitation of power, feeling that you can do anything you want to.Not about age or attractiveness.Remember the bully in school. This was a person who tried to intimidate and scare you. You had to confront them in order to deal with them.
5Why Are We Still Talking About This? Because it still happensPrevention is the best medicineRenew our commitment of respectful treatment of all employeesUSDA’s PolicyNRCS’s PolicyTo Provide information to employees and managersIn preparation for this meeting I asked folks about sexual harassment. I travel a lot and in Sacramento, Verona and Nashville I heard stories that ranged from oh, I don’t hear anything here to “it’s alive and well.” the news has recently talked about WalMart and Morgan Stanley as two cases of sex discrimination.
6Facts It can happen to any one, anywhere and any time. 85-95% who are harassed are womenMen are harassedIts not about age or attractivenessHarassment starts as early as elementary schoolMy daughter was nine years old in 4th grade. She was taught about her private parts and when two 4th grade boys thought it would be fun to feel up backside she told me about it. This was 22 years ago and the teacher didn’t take it seriously. A second incident happened and I had to go there again.At one time or another women are harassed. And
7Perceptions and Myths A women’s natural place is in the home. A woman committed to the job rather than family is unwomanly.Women lack reason and are governed by emotion.Women should be subordinate to men.Women are not tough minded. Men need to take care of them.Only attractive women get harassed.Women who get harassed are asking for it.Men don’t get harassed.Sexual harassment doesn’t happen to managers and executives.Promiscuity leads to sexual harassment.Most sexual harassment happens only in women’s minds.Women charge sexual harassment when they are in trouble on the job.PerceptionsBecause of religious and cultural belief “nice” men treat women as mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and dependents, not as intellectual or professional equals. When men view women as nice and not equals they close their eyes to the reality of sexual harassment. When you are not sure how to treat a person at work. Think of them as a skilled professional colleague or employee, not as a mother, father, wife, husband, son or daughter.MythsSexual harassment is not a women’s problem, it is a business problem. The law and agency policy regulates this problem just as clearly as it regulates other workplace problems, such as thief.There should be a copy of this in your handout
8The Confusion is in the Roles PersonalParent/grandparentSibling/cousin/friendChild/grandchildSpouseGirl/boyfriendProfessionalBoss – authorityColleague – peerEmployee - subordinateThe confusion on how to behave stems from our knowledge of stereotypes, myths and perceptions on who and what women and men are. We have learned to see men and women in a variety of roles, but mostly personal.Most men look at a woman and see their mother or grandmother, sister or friend, wife or lover, child or grandchild and they treat her accordingly.Not realizing that when at work all women are one of three things, they are the boss, the colleague or their subordinate and must be treated in a professional manner that is defined by the work role not the personal role.Women see men the same way. If you view older men as someone who is suppose to take care of you like daddy, older brother, uncle Bob or Grandpa John you have expectations that will not be met because he is not those things. He may be your boss or your peer. If you are an older woman and treat a younger man as you would your son or grandson, you could be heading for trouble.Men who expect women to fill the role of wife or mother in the workplace are heading for trouble. And if you think all single women are potential “dates” or need to be taken care of or “handled” like you daughter you are heading for trouble.In the work place we need to treat men and women in the roles defined by work, the authority role of supervisor, manager, boss and the respect that comes with that title, the peer role as you would treat a colleague as a peer and don’t treat your subordinates as your children.
9Sexual Harassment A Spectrum of Behavior Patterns VisualVerbalWrittenOglingUnwanted requests for dates, sex, etc.Unwanted love poemsStaringQuestions about personal lifeUnwanted love lettersPostersLewd commentsObscene poemsMagazinesDirty/sexual jokesUnwanted cardsFlyersWhistlingSource:GE Fanuc Automation North America, Inc.The next two slides are one I saw during my research on sexual harassment. They are good examples of behavior patterns and good information on what not to doUnwanted or unwelcomed are a key words.
10Sexual Harassment A Spectrum of Behavior Patterns TouchingPowerThreatsForceViolating spaceRelationshipsQuid pro quoRapePattingUsing position to request dates, sex, etc.DemandsPhysical AssaultGrabbingLoss of JobPinchingSelection ProcessCaressingKissingSource:GE Fanuc Automation North America, Inc.There should be a copy of this page in your handout.
11Managers, what should you do? Know the agency’s policy on sex discrimination.Make sure your staff knows that there is a “zero tolerance” for sex discrimination in NRCS.Take complaints seriously when an employee comes to you with a concern.Contact HR to begin an investigationLet the employees involved know their rightsLog on toProvide training on sex discrimination yearly.Be observant, notice what is going on in your office.Copy of this for handoutDon’t down play the incident, don’t say well Bob didn’t mean that, you know how he is. Don’t judge the person who is bringing the complaint. Whether they are a team player or a little too friendly in your opinion is not relative to the current situation you are finding yourself in right now.Professional behavior on your part is what is required now.
12Women, what should you do? Know and understand the law and agency’s policy.Don’t accept old standards of behavior.Be prepared to speak up on your behalf.Be prepared to be uncomfortable.Talk to and educate your children about harassment.Understand the definition of “unwelcome”Don’t use sex as a tool. Don’t use your sexuality or femininity as a way to ease your work load. If you have to carry heavy objects find a way to do it. Don’t act girlish, helpless, or expect men in the office to treat you like your father, husband or older brother would when it is convenient and then want them to treat you like a colleague at other times. Its confusing and not professional.You want to be treated as a skilled professional at all time and you have to present yourself this way.
13Men, what should you do?Know and understand the law and agency’s policy. Compliance is mandatory.Understand how and why old standards of behavior may be offensive.Be prepared to speak up.Understand what “unwelcome” meansBe prepared to be uncomfortable.Talk to and educate your children about harassment.You need to understand the law. Review the myths and perceptions, review the agency policy and review the eeoc website. Saying I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong or I didn’t mean anything by it will not guarantee that you won’t have a problem.What was acceptable years ago is not acceptable today.Women in the work place are not your mother, wife, daughter, or potential date. Don’t treat them that way. Don’t expect the woman in the office to be the one to bake, buy the birthday gift for the staff and organize all the social activities.When you see or hear your colleagues behaving inappropriately speak up.
14When you are out of the office. . . Workshops, conferences, travel, social gatheringsContractors, customers, partnersAdhering to Sex discrimination and sexual harassment polices don’t end after 4:30 or 5 p.m. When you are on travel status, at the company picnic, or meeting co-workers after work at the local tavern you need to continue to treat each other with the same dignity and respect you would have in the office.You don’t have to put up with inappropriate behavior or comments from folks who are not NRCS employees, such as contractors, customers, partners. Confront them and tell them to stop. And if they don’t report it to your supervisor.
15When you are harassed.You must respect yourself. You were hired to do a job not to be abused.Learn the difference between being assertive and being aggressive.If you need it, take assertiveness training.Read and understand the agency’s policy, know your rights.You cannot prevent someone from harassing you however, since you know it is a strong possibility that It can happen to you. Be prepared. Spend some time visualizing how you would handle situations that could arise. It would not hurt to get a couple of books from the local library and read more about it.Another thing you should remember, how you behave
16When you are harassed, con’t. Talk to the harasser. You can:Point to the sexual harassment poster and state “we have a policy against sexual harassment and it applies to you.”“I find your behavior/comments unacceptable.”“The only relationship I plan to have with you is a professional one so let’s get back to work.”You are standing in my personal space, MOVE.Would you say or do this to me if you spouse or child were here?Your first step should be to talk to the harasser. Respond immediately. Tell my story about “girl in fsa”Don’t brude, don’t tell others without telling the person who offended you.Don’t suffer in silence.Jokes? Ask the person to write that up so you can print it in the state’s newsletter.Never say or write anything you wouldn’t want seen on the front page of the local newspaper.
17When you are harassed, con’t. If the harassment does not end . . .Report harassment to your supervisor.Expect action, if there is none . . .Report harassment to the state conservationist, expect action, if there is none . . .Report harassment to Civil Rights Division in headquarters. CallFWPMs can assist you in determining who to contact when you have been harassed.W
18You have been confronted . . . You have been told that your behavior or comment is offensive.What do you do?Consider your self lucky. Why??How do you handle this?You are steamed because someone else told that joke last month and they didn’t get in trouble. Or you may be shocked because you didn’t think you did anything wrong.Consider yourself lucky. Why? A person who feels they have been harassed IS NOT REQUIRED TO CONFRONT THE PERSON WHO OFFENDED THEM.
19Confronted . . .A person who has been offended and feels they have been sexually harassed is not required to confront the person who offended them. They can file a complaint.So if you are approached and told your behavior/comment was offensive. Immediately assure the person it will not happen again.You are not apoligizing, you are not admitting you did anything wrong, you just letting them know it won’t happen again.And you have saved yourself a lot of headaches. Remember the word unwelcomed, unwanted.
20Justification (Free Speech) Dealing with Excuses Sometimes people try to justify their offensive remarks or behaviors.This is usually done out loud and in front of others. They are made to make you feel uncomfortable because some are not happy with what they see as restrictions or violations of their freedoms.Your may hear comments of reverse discrimination, what about my rights, oh here comes the morality police, we used to have fun around here, people are too sensitive these days, what ever happen to freedom of speech in this country?However it happens, when it does, you know that you are at a critical moment in time. Everyone is waiting to hear your response. Will you remain silent and leave the others wondering just how strong is management’s commitment to preventing sexual harassment? Will you join in and chuckle removing any doubt that you don’t support our sexual harassment policy or will you take this opportunity to state calmly, logically but firmly that harassing comments and behaviors will not be tolerated and show everyone in the room that you and management will not condone inappropriate behavior.
21Justifying and making excuses Freedom and freedom of speech was never intended to give one person the right to hurt another person. Defamation, libel and slander laws protect people from being hurt by another person’s words. In addition, when we accepted the offer to work at NRCS, we did it voluntarily. Part of taking a job is agreeing to do the assigned work and follow the rules of the organization. One of the rules is that discrimination and sexual harassment will not be condoned.NRCS hires employees to perform a variety of tasks. We are administrative, technical, professional, clerical, we are volunteers, we are students and we are of all grade levels. None of us were hired to be abused.However you handle these moments will enhance or destroy all efforts to provide a harassment-free workplace. You need to be prepared to deal with challenges and excuses.
22Love and AttractionThe fact that people are attracted to each other will not go away because USDA and NRCS has a sexual harassment policy.People will still be attracted to each other, fall in love, or enter into and out of relationships. The law and our policies cannot prevent that. The law can, however, insist that people behave professionally at work. It can demand that employment decisions be made on the basis of objective, job-related criteria. It can insist that managers, supervisors and team leaders use their power to make decisions fairly and equitably.
23Other workplace issues Sexual OrientationFamily CareReligionPolitics/affiliationFamily/Parental StatusGenetic informationRetaliation
24The Costs of harassment . . . PhysicalHeadaches, ulcersNo clear focusPsychologicalFear, anxiety, guiltEconomicReal illness cost $ in lost wages, medical bills, costs of recruiting, training to replace lost employeesAgency ReputationLost of talented employeesNew studentsStress from harassment costs us in loss of productivity and absenteeism. Our reputation as an agency is at stake, summer intern and student trainees have a network and though they may not file complaints they will talk to other students and school officials.
25Managing Your CareerWhether you are an employee or manager, supervisor, partner or contractor you are responsible for your actions.You must protect yourself by being ready to act if a situation arises.Don’t worry about making wavesAs I said earlier you need to manage your career. You are responsible for your actions and for your reactions. You must stay current with the times and protect yourself. Don’t worry about making waves when you respond to someone who has made inappropriate comments or acts.I appreciate you for listening to this session and I hope I provided you with something new to think about. NRCS is a good agency to work for. It is the third agency I worked for. I started OPM, FWS and then SCS. When the opportunities were limited in NC and my children grew up I became mobile and was willing to leave NC a state I lived in for 23 years rather than leave the agency.There are good people in NRCS who do good work and we should all be proud of who and what we are. However, every so often we have to have these sessions to remind folks of our committement to a fair, respectful workplace that values and appreciates all of our employees.Thank your for your attention. I enjoyed visiting with you last evening and look forward to spending the rest of the day with you.
26Learn More About It By . . . . Reading Researching Networking Take the initiative to learn more about these and other civil rights issues by reading, researching and networking. Using the www to find information is easy and an very good way to get started on your quest to become knowledgeable. If you have to take a class on surfing the web, please do so. Your local library or university library will have good information and networking with others, HR, State and National SEPM and by all mean with each other will help you.
27References/Bibliography Nancy and Thomas McGinn, - Harassed-100 Women Define Inappropriate Behavior in the WorkplaceJoan Kennedy Taylor - What To Do When You Don’t Want To Call The Cops – A Non-Adversarial Approach To Sexual HarassmentGinny Nicarthy, You Don’t Have to Take It! A Woman’s Guide to Confronting Emotional Abuse at Work.Naomi Coffman, Ginny Gottlieb - The First Line of Defense – A Guide to Protecting Yourself Against Sexual HarassmentMike Debelieux, Stopping Sexual Harassment Before it Starts