Monday, June 02, 2008


Guest post by Postmodern Conservative.

Today I had to take an online employee harassment seminar which, to some, might seem a form of harassment itself. Joking aside, much of it was common sense. The things that had to do with sexual harassment are questions of basic morality. My workplace is very conservative in that regard, partly because of the nature of the industry—a professional services firm—and partly because (I am guessing) the more traditional region I live in (the South).

Likeminded individuals will say that not only are unsolicited sexual actions disagreeable, but so are "welcome" ones. The same goes for dirty jokes, etc. A couple of years ago my supervisor, an aging frat boy, tried to show me an online striptease game. I passed on it saying, "No thanks, I've already got one naked woman in my life," since I'm a married man.

No doubt modern sensitivities about this sort of thing are probably an improvement on the culture of twenty or thirty years ago. But with the good comes the bad, especially in our ideologically-driven workplace. One example was given in the slideshow of a man dating another man and how co-workers expressed their dislike... not persecution, mind you, but just quiet disapproval. But even that's frowned upon. This goes to show that with many HR issues, it is an agenda that is being promoted that demands not just "tolerance" but acceptance. Fortunately, the very mentality that makes our firm conservative on male-female relationships have also keep this sort of thought-policing at bay.... at least for the moment.

Finally, I just had to laugh when I read in the online quiz that a party given to a 40-year-old, which joked about someone being "over the hill" and "ready for retirement," might be considered age discrimination.... at least for someone with no sense of humor. I'm now 41 and I honestly never thought of myself as belonging to a protected category. Too bad!