A participant asked me what qualifies as an act of sexual harassment in the workplace.
I explained that any behaviour that makes a person feel uncomfortable or unsafe, has a sexual tone and impacts the workplace is grounds enough for the person to report the behaviour to the Internal Complaints Committee.
One of the participants was visibly upset. They asked, “Everyone knows I am the funny guy! Does this mean I cannot even make a joke?”
I responded, “If the joke is sexual in nature and makes the other person uncomfortable you are creating a hostile work environment.”
“People are so sensitive nowadays!” he replied.
“Besides, how is this being inclusive?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked. Now I was a little confused.
He smirked and said, “You mentioned that the workplace should be a place where we all feel comfortable to be our real selves. Now you are asking me to alter my personality to make my sensitive colleagues comfortable. I don’t believe in being fake or altering my personality for other people’s comfort!”
I asked, “Do you wear your pyjamas to your client meeting?”
“Thats absurd! Why would I do that?”
I replied, “Just as you wear your best formals to a client meeting. You should bring the kindest, most empathetic and professional self to work. Doing so does not make you less authentic.”