Thursday, September 27, 2007

There is nothing funny about sexual harassment.

I could never work in Human Resources, and it doesn't even have anything to do with my intense dislike of people. It has to do with all the stupid things they have to do in order to make sure the company doesn't get sued. take for example their latest project: sexual harassment training for every division of the company. Yep, two years have passed and once again they have to make sure that no one thinks playing grab ass in the office is appropriate. If this were my responsibility the training might go something like this: "if you don't want it cut off don't touch your co-workers with it." I actually think that's how they do it in Iran.

Due to the fact that I was not in charge of the training (big sigh of relief from everyone who works with me) we were instead all subjected to an hour lecture and video about what is and what is not sexual harassment. Then we got to fill out a form evaluating our own behavior in case we need to make any changes. I kept my sheet...

Q. Do you ever touch a co-worker and let your hand linger?
A. No. And if they touch me I start screaming like a spider monkey.
Q. Do you date co-workers?
A. Well, I'm married. But really, have you seen my co-workers? Not tempting.
Q. Do you ever make statements or tell stories that demean people based on their sexual
A. I like to demean people on the basis of their character and how much they annoy me.

I think you get the idea.

As I was sitting there, biting my tongue, repressing every sarcastic urge I had, and generally counting the minutes until it was over I had an epiphany: sexual harassment should not be the only behavior not tolerated in an office. There are several other things more annoying and more (dare I say it) detrimental to my productivity than someone telling me I have a nice rack. Take for instance the people who forward you every piece of slightly humorous e-mail that comes their way. No means no. Take me off your list, I don't car how cute the puppy looks when he falls off the table. Or what about religious discussions? I know this may not be a common problem outside of Utah, but I get really tired of people talking about their missions, their wards and so on. That also goes for the Catholics who come into work each year with a smudge on their forehead on Ash Wednesday just daring someone to tell them their face is dirty. If the office is a sexually neutral place, it should be religiously neutral as well. After all, sex has started fewer wars than religion. I also think all bridal, baby, and birthday celebrations should be relegated to outside of the office. I am happy to bring a gift, I am happy to bring food, but going to a celebration in the middle of the day just disrupts my flow. It's kind of like floating down the Colorado River and having to stop for a Tupperware party.

Finally, the mother of all concentration killers: the unnecessary meeting. Every person, in every part of the organization should have to go through a series of steps before they call a meeting. Just as all employees should ask "would I say this to my grandma" before making a sexual comment, all meeting planners should ask " will this meeting accomplish anything besides boring the shit out of people?" before they reserve a conference room.

I think that if HR asked people, the four things above steal more hours and cause more sick days than any raunchy joke about a nun and a penguin. Those are some training sessions I would smile to be a part of. But, then again, that would just make more work for HR, and I think their jobs are already touch enough.

Maybe I should thank them for all they do by sending them a cookie basket... from the erotic bakery in Sugar House.


Amanda said...

Your meeting guidelines should be published in every office in the world.

jon deal said...

Forget the meeting protocol stuff.

I want to hear the raunchy nun and penguin joke.

Amanda said...

Bring us some fresh Libby!

Sprite's Keeper said...

When you finish that mission statement, make it viral. In fact, I think my email inbox has become a catch-all for "Fwd: Funniest thing ever!" and it turns out to be a soaked cat making guns at the camera. Come on, people! Where's your etiquette training?
Great Spin, Libby! You're linked!

Midlife Mama said...

I came here from Sprite's Keeper because your Spin talked about Human Resources. Being an HR professional myself, I was intrigued.

And THANK YOU for not blaming HR for the "stooopid" sexual harrassment prevention training (prevention is the key word there heh) that you have to go through every two years. That, my friend, is your legislatures at work. We don't make the rules; we just enforce them. And if it wasn't for silly, ridiculous, frivolous lawsuits, none of these laws would have to be in place. Common sense has left the building, and in it's place are ridiculous laws because of ridiculous lawsuits.

I assume you're in California, and your training is required by AB 1825. We have so many laws in California, HR professionals require a special certification. Other states point and laugh at California's ridiculous labor laws.

So....stepping away from the HR Soapbox now. LOL Great spin. And thanks again for not blaming HR, for they hate it, too. :)

Mama Badger said...

Hysterical. This was great. I always wonder if the people who are "sexually harassing" others ever get the message in those trainings? It's kind of like sending out the dress code once a year. The people who need it most don't think it's directed at them! Great post.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Stopping by from Sprite's... I have been known to write answers like yours on stupid evaluation forms... ;) I absolutely agree with you on the email madness, and the disruption to your day for the random celebration - "It's kind of like floating down the Colorado River and having to stop for a Tupperware party." That is so right on the money! LOL!! Oh, and the random meetings that result in nothing but boredom...those are absolutely the worst. Great post!!

Fish said...

I love your fish!!!! Where can I get one?

Great spin. :)

Shangrila said...

Ack-this post dragged me RIGHT BACK to the work sexual harassment video that I ever had to watch-I was the manager, and so I had to watch the damn thing EVERY TIME I hired someone! It had one of the guys from MadTV in it, clearly made before he made it big. Hateful.