- Business and Employment
My No-Sense Measures to help employees deal with improper behavior at work
Here we go
back into the early 1950's when America was prospering in the industrial sector, in private enterprise and farming. Yes, we had a strong hold on the proverbial brass ring that had taunted us for years as we rode the carousel of free enterprise living in hope that one day we would be better off than our parents. That day, if you care to recall, did arrive.
Hello, prosperity. Auto plants not only sprang up in Detroit, Michigan, but built the city that prior to prosperity prophets: Ford, Chevrolet, and GM (which doesn't stand for "Giant Man"). In an instant they were given "the" name, "The Big Three," which has endured to this year, 2016. And there is no sign of these giant automakers ever losing enough profits to declare bankruptcy.
All's well in America
in the 1950's. Dad has a good job, mom stays home to keep house, raise the kids and like clockwork, has dad a hot meal waiting on him every weekday evening. Tick, tock. Dad gets home, air kisses mom, pats "Johnny" on the head, eats, then cracks open a cold Schlitz, hits his recliner for some television. Life is good for this family. I almost forgot about the weekly barbecue with neighbors, "Bob" and "Julie" (their perfect neighbors) each Sunday in the backyard. Yes, to repeat. Life is good for this family.
But somewhere in this treadmill evil is afoot. Either a sharp looking girl, "Cookie," she is called by the guys at the "Rowdy Roy's Truck stop," or a male named "Lance," for his athletic body.
Examples: "Cookie" quits the truck stop, gets a good job at Acme International Life Insurance Co., as a secretary. She is excited about her new job. Before long, her naïve mindset is well-known and most of the male employees are wanting to take her out on a date. Nothing wrong with that except they do their asking on company time which is wrong because in today's workplace these actions are considered forms of sexual harassment.
The same can be said about "Lance," who starts out as an assistant to the assistant vice president of Acme International Life Insurance Co. He being a male, enjoys his ego being inflated each time he walks by a secretary and she smiles at him. A smile? Actually if "Lance" is not careful, he might fall prey to the same trap that is set for "Cookie."
This is worth repeating
for the "Cookie's" and "Lance's" in our workplace once innocent, wide-eyed with ambition, now being followed by a dark cloud of self-resentment for being so weak as to say yes to a few eager male employees who are wrong to think that they can force her to talk dating on the job.
The guys in "Cookie's" department are eager to promise "Cookie" the world for a date, but when it's time for the promise to be fulfilled, they give this poor girl a flimsy excuse as to why the promise cannot be kept. Isn't this telling a lie?
Frankly and with a lot of discretion, the area of sexual harassment should have been "nipped in the bud" ("Barney Fife", Don Knotts, "Andy Griffith Show"), back when it showed its filthy and demeaning head back in the late 1940's and watched from that time on.
Here now is my headline . . .
My no-sense measures to help employees cope with improper behavior at work
1.) When being friendly to an employee of the opposite sex, before you speak to the employee, make sure that you are a good 10 yards away from them and have a member of the opposite sex with you when you say "hello, hardware department employee" and continue to walk toward your work area. Also be sure that the witness you have with you records (in a notebook) what you said and the tone of voice you used in your greeting.
2.) If you are a male supervisor or manager and a female employee knocks on your door to ask you a production question, first, put on your suit coat with all of the buttons buttoned. You do not want to project an improper image. Then call in another female employee with video camera and notebook to record what the female employee's question was and how she asked it. Oh, be sure that you are sitting behind your desk and do not make any unnecessary moves that might be misconstrued as a wrongful advance. When you have adequately answered the female employee's question, call in another female employee to witness that you and another female employee were only seeing to a question being answered by you, the manager to a female employee. Just in case you feel uncomfortable, let the second female employee see the video and read the first female employee's notes on what the female employee with the production question wanted. Remember my motto: "Fair treatment is good treatment."
3.) If you are a single male employee who just happens to be charismatic you can do one of three things to keep down the tension created by this awkward situatiion. You can shop around for an affordable plastic surgeon to do some necessary cuts on your face and body to make you less attractive to female employees or two, you can ask your supervisor to walk with you each time you have to visit the men's room or lunch. A witness is better than he said, she said. The third countermeasure is simple: buy yourself a pair of blinders once worn by mules who pulled plows in the field. Sure, people will laugh at you, but had you rather have your butt fried on the witness stand in a nasty lawsuit filed by a heart broken girl who flirted with you and you led her on by winking back at her.
4.) If you are a female employee and your job calls for you to sit at a desk or stand, always be ready to put your head down and clean out of sight each time a male employee walks by your work station. Remember my proven motto: "Better made fun of than visited in prison."
5.) When speaking to another employee and no supervisor or employee of the opposite sex is available, close your eyes then cover them with your hands. Then say something safe like, "Hello. I am going to provide a product that customers will approve of." See? There is absolutely nothing in this greeting that any employee would consider a form of improper behavior.
6.) If you are a male employee and a woman employee is nearing your work station or table in the break room, lay on the floor instantly and "play possum." When you deploy this action, you should have a sticker on your shirt that reads: "to protect you and I from improper behavior, I am just laying here in a fetal position and mean no sexual intent or harassment to you in any way. Now would you please go on about your business." Remember my motto: "A live possum is better than a sued employee."
7.) There will be times when "that" extra friendly employee will approach you just to be friendly. WARNING: this can mean termination for you if you succumb to their friendly atttitude. What I want you to do in this case is RUN as fast as you can and as far away from the friendly male or female employee. Had you rather be a given out, good employee or a friendly employee whose friendly "hello," was misunderstood as you asking the friendly employee out for a drink after work?
8.) Always wear extra loose clothing to work. And this applies to every season of the year. Even in the hot summer, wear an overcoat and coveralls if you are a male employee and a veil if you are a female employee. You must understand that in today's "lawsuit friendly" society, even the slightest glimpse of a thigh, ankle, or other body part may lead to you losing a job that you love plus the respect of every coworker in your work station.
9.) When you are in the way with an employee of the opposite sex and you cannot find another employee to witness that you are not seeking a sexual favor just by nodding at the other employee, instantly turn your back to the other employee. Sure it looks rude and might be rude, but the friendliest of greetings can be thought of as improper behavior. Remember my motto: "Better looked upon as rude than sued."
Quick, sensible tips to help you avoid improper behavior
Always be prepared to quickly look away even if you should view any woman (or man) walking toward your workplace in the parking lot.
- Be on guard every waking moment of your workday. This tip can be, if you let it, be a tad tricky. You are a caring employee. You care about your job, company and coworkers. One day a coworker (and close friend outside of company) meets you and shares some bad news about a distant cousin passing away so what do you do? You most certainly cannot embrace the coworker for they might misread your intentions and think you are coming on to them. And you cannot verbally tell them of your sympathies because this coworker has been burned a few times by slick male employees who act sorry as a means to make a sexual pass at them. The answer is simple. Be like a solider in basic training and instantly "hit the dirt" or floor in this instance. Continue to lay there motionless and this way, customers and other coworkers will charge around you to see what is wrong thus preventing any sign of sexual harassment.
- If your supervisor happens to be a friendly man or woman, do not panic. When you talk to your boss just keep your eyes shut tightly and if he or she should want you to look at some work-related records, look quickly and then shut your eyes again.
- Be of few words. This means when you encounter a customer or employee who might say, "hi" or "good morning," just scowl and mumble "yeah" and keep walking.
- When you are on your lunch break, morning or afternoon break, keep the topic of your conversation isolated to "Improper behavior in the workplace" So what if you lose a few good friends? They will not be sued like you for talking about sports, cars, or even the economy.
- Evasive actions work to your advantage. When a very pretty (or handsome) employee winks at you, quickly grab your knee and say, "Rats! That old football injury again," and if you are a female, add, "when I was the head cheerleader with a uniform that covered all of my taut, young body."
If you have a boss who is way too friendly, beware. Never allow yourself to be put into a compromising position such as these examples:
- Balk at his request to go with him or her to the broom closet to take inventory of the number of brooms there are on hand.
- Never accompany them to the basement to check for crickets.
- Meeting him or her at an out-of-the-way cafe is very stupid to say nothing about improper. Sure, you may be fired for spurning his/her invitation, but you should be able to afford a lawyer to handle the case if you do get fired.
Never and I mean never . . .go on a long business trip with your boss even if there are plenty of witnesses going on the trip with you.
- If you cannot get out of that week long business trip and are forced to stay in a motel, inform your boss that you must stay in a room by yourself or you will quit the company. Tell him that you cannot stay in a room with coworkers for the old saying, "idle tongues are improper behavior's workshop" is what you are trying to avoid.
Hold it one moment while I get a male and female to witness my next statement.
Okay. "Thank you, honorable follower for taking the time to read this humble offering."
Be honest. Do you find my tips and suggestions to deal with improper behavior in the workplace a help? Good.
Good night, Billings, Montana and the staff of WWL-Radio, Louisiana
© 2016 Kenneth Avery