Dealing with workplace harassment, bullying and discrimination to create a respectful workplace

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Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

ARTICLES

 

In some places in the world, women are covered from head to toe. Some people believe men will be tempted and women and men need to be protected from unwanted attention, or worse.

 

When a man in a Canadian workplace says he is distracted by a woman he thinks is dressed provocatively or is showing too much skin, it reminds me of the women who must cover themselves completely because men can’t control themselves. I’m not sure about other parts of the world, and I’m not going to interfere with a Canadian woman who chooses to cover herself, but in the workplace, women shouldn’t have to dress in a way that keeps men at arm’s length.

 

If a woman at your workplace is dressed inappropriately for any legitimate reason, the employer has every right to ask her to change into something more appropriate.  Perhaps it’s not in keeping with a dress code. Perhaps there are safety concerns in which other clothing will be better suited. As long as these are legitimate reasons, then men and women need to dress appropriately. However, if women are being asked to change because one man or a number of men think it’s too revealing, then you better make sure you’re not imposing a standard which is outdated and sexist. Before creating a stir (or banner headlines – because sometimes an issue like this attracts news headlines) I’d suggest talking to someone who knows your workplace policy.

 

Here’s the problem. Let’s say Tim finds women with low cut blouses to be sexually enticing. He can’t concentrate because he thinks she’s so sexy. As the supervisor, when you find this out, you tell Brenda to change into something more appropriate tomorrow. The next day Brenda shows up with a turtle neck sweater: so she thinks she’s safe. But Brad comes up to you and says a real turn-on for him is women in turtle necks. See where this is going?

 

TRY THIS:

 

If a man suggests a woman change outfits because he finds it too distracting, make your own determination. If you think there’s nothing wrong, talk to the male employee and ask him what in particular is bothering him about her outfit and why he thinks she should change. Let him know that if it’s only because he feels distracted, that’s not enough of a reason for her to change her clothing. He’s the one who has to change.

 

HOW ABOUT:

 

“You think her clothes are inappropriate, but I see nothing wrong with what she’s wearing. We all like to look nice and I’m not going to condemn her for wearing fashionable clothing. I’d suggest you not spend as much time looking at her.”

 

“I think you’re quite capable getting through your day without worrying what other people are wearing. There is nothing wrong with her appearance as per our dress code and I’m not going to interfere.”

 

“You’re not an animal. As such I think you can control your urges. If you can't control your urges, you better tell me as we have a much bigger issue to deal with...and it's all about you, not her.”

 

 

Stephen Hammond, B.A., LL.B., CSP

 

If you have any questions, please contact Stephen.

#13

 SOME MEN THINK ONE OF THE WOMEN DRESSES PROVOCATIVELY OR WEARS HER CLOTHES TOO TIGHT

Stephen's NEW Book

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© STEPHEN HAMMOND - HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.    
 
CONTACT

Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

Here's a FREE selection of articles that address many different problems and situations in your workplace.

© STEPHEN HAMMOND HARASSMENT SOLUTIONS INC.
 
  
 
CONTACT