実践ビジネス英語 2018/9/5 L11 Revamping Sexual Harassment Policy
5 水 Lesson11 Revamping Sexual Harassment Policy (1-3)
Good morning, everybody. I wanted to talk to you informally about our new corporate policy handbook. It outlines A＆A’s revised sexual harassment policy.
How is it different from the previous policy?
It’s much more detailed. For example, it describes how investigations of alleged harassment should be carried out. It states clearly that management has to take all complaints seriously, and will look into them thoroughly. As for employees, you need to be aware of your obligation to report sexual harassment concerns to your supervisor or to HR.
Has A＆A revised the handbook due to all the high-profile scandals we’ve been hearing about lately?
That’s part of the reason. But we also realized that our previous policy was inadequate in some respects. I should mention that we’re going to improve our training program for helping people report and deal with sexual harassment issues.
Pat I’m glad to hear that. I went to that seminar given by lawyer and outside experts that A＆A had brought in. To be honest, I had some doubts about how effective it was. The speakers clicked through a slide presentation while the attendees stole glances at their phones.
I came away with the impression that sessions like that are largely pro forma exercises. It didn’t really engage people or offer workable solutions.
I’m sorry to hear that. But I think it served a purpose in teaching people basic information, like what actually constitutes harassment and how to report such unacceptable behavior.
Bill Sure, but it didn’t really address the root problem: preventing sexual harassment from happening in the first place.
Well, the most important thing in that regard is making people aware of what the boundaries are in terms of acceptable interpersonal relations in the workplace. There’s been a steady increase in that kind of awareness since training in how to deal with sexual harassment issues became standard practice among U.S. employers in the 1990s.
What was the reason for that, if I may ask?
Companies were responding to Supreme Court rulings and new federal guidelines aimed at enforcing anti-discrimination laws. To avoid being sued in sexual harassment cases, they had to demonstrate that they’d trained employees to follow anti-harassment policies.
These days, managers know that such training is essential. But it’s not enough on its own. In order to prevent harassment, companies have to crate a workplace culture where people are respected and treated as equals regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Does the new handbook address the issue of preventing such problems from developing in the first place?
It does. There’s a section on what’s called civility training that’s designed to fill that gap.
That’s good to know. I think the recent spotlight on sexual harassment and how to deal with it is very healthy and long overdue. But managers need to take a more proactive approach in fostering a workplace culture of tolerance, acceptance and civility.
And there should be more training to encourage bystanders to report bad behavior when they see it. The sad truth is that bystanders often turn a blind eye to offensive behavior by powerful figures. Most victims – many of them women – don’t report incidents of harassment, although that’s slowly starting to change.
Some women aren’t sure who they should report inappropriate behavior to.
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