In my diversity trainer role, I’ve been talking a lot about workplace dating and sexual harassment. I do this usually in February because it’s Valentine’s Day month.
A lot of people are gearing up to celebrate, but who knows how our dates will go this year. Right?
We’re usually doing some sort of partnering up. Or it’s at least on our minds because it’s a highly-promoted holiday. We end up having some conflict around that.
If you missed the series that I did last year, I’m not going to repeat it, but you can find it on the Third Ear Conflict Resolution YouTube channel. Just go to the playlist for sexual harassment, and you’ll find some tips like:
- I Didn’t Want to Sue – Here’s Why I Did
- Should You Make a Dating Move on a Co-Worker?
- Should You Date Someone You Work With?
This year, I want to go forward. I’m all about advancing these conversations so that we can have big breakthroughs.
I want to talk about one of the favorite February 13th activities in my household when I was growing up. Remember those boxes of mini-valentines we used to take into our classrooms give to everyone?
My mom always bought an extra box of them, and she would have me and my sisters make them out and sign them things like “Your secret admirer”. My mom would go into work early the next day, and she would put them in all the spaces in the office, for all of her co-workers. Her intent was to have some fun and make Valentine’s Day a little less uncomfortable for the people who were alone. My mom was alone for a lot of those years, and this seemed like a harmless way to make the day better for herself and her co-workers.
If my mom were working today, there’s a good chance that her employer would discipline her or tell her not to do that anymore. It’s a different work environment, so I’m curious how it would play out in your workplace. I invite you to put your Comments below this video. Let me know if you think she should be disciplined and why.
Is Valentine’s Day sexual in nature? And if it is, why in the world are we having children pass out valentines in their classrooms? (Do any classrooms still do this?)
I like to bring these kinds of questions into the sexual harassment training to get you thinking beyond the basics. Check-the-box training isn’t enough because the world we live in is more complex. We have to start applying the knowledge and taking things in context. We need to have real, uncomfortable conversations with each other before we have breakthroughs around sexual harassment. That’s what I do in my training.
If you’re looking for something that goes beyond the check-the-box training, I invite you to click the client application field on the home page. Let’s have a chat and develop a training that makes sense to your employees and what they encounter on the job.
In the meantime, keep listening with your third ear for those hurts you can heal.
Nance L. Schick, Esq., is a workplace attorney, ethno-religious mediator, and conflict resolution coach based in New York City. Her goal is to keep managers and small business owners out of court and build their conflict resolution skills so everyone has a better work experience. She is creator of the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process, author of DIY Conflict Resolution, and an award-winning entrepreneur acknowledged by Super Lawyers (ADR, 2018, 2019 & 2020), the New York Economic Development Corporation/B-Labs (Finalist, Best for NYC 2015 & 2016), U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2015 Blue Ribbon Small Business), Enterprising Women Magazine (Honorable Mention, 2014 Woman of the Year awards).