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Friday, August 12, 2005

MANDATORY ANTI-SEXUAL HARASSMENT TRAINING ABSURD

Today I attended the Anti-Sexual Harassment training class as required by the company I work for. What bullshit. Although I often favor irrational thought and the absence of logic in life, the severe stupidity and non-sensical premise on which this "training" is based frustrated me to no end.

The basic premise of the hour-long class was this: we are all adults here at this company and we all know what is appropriate behavior and what is not. Therefore, to maintain a work environment free of sexual harassment, all we need to do is behave appropriately.

As the nice lady teaching the class explained this, the dialogue started in my head. Well, I thought, if everyone in the company had the same standards for appropriate behavior and acted accordingly, then, yes, no one would ever be offended. But of course the truth is that everyone has different standards. What is humorous to me might be offensive to someone else. And if everyone DID have the same standards for behavior, then the notion of sexual harassment wouldn't exist and we wouldn't need to take this lame class.

But I kept my thoughts to myself. The class continued. The nice lady broke us up into groups so that we could each come up with two examples a piece of verbal, non-verbal, and physical harassment. A coworker of mine who I don't know was eager to participate and offered answers to all the nice lady's hypotheticals. He seemed to be "getting it" according to the nice lady. Others participated as well. As the conversation progressed, one smart-assed response after another rattled around in my brain. Eventually, Ii couldn't take it and tried to just zone out altogether.

But then she said this.

"If you see coworkers behaving in a way that you think others might find inappropriate, it is your responsibility to bring that behavior to the attention of your manager."

At that the guy who had been participating the most winced at the nice lady and said, "What?"

The nice lady repeated.

"If you see coworkers behaving in a way that you think others might find inappropriate, it is your responsibility to bring that behavior to the attention of your manager."

"Why should I have to do that? I don't want get involved with everyone else's business. I've got enough to think about. I just want to come in, do my work and go home."

Now you're getting it, I thought.

At the end we had to take an absurd quiz which more than anything tested my ability to make sense of double negatives.

"True or false? Your employer is not liable if an employee does not report possible sexual harassment."

Huh?

After the class was over and we all waited for the elevator, we all agreed to never speak to one another again in order to protect the integrity of the workplace.

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