All HR professionals should take note of current media reports on the sexual harassment complaint recently settled at Fox News – USA.
The complainant was News anchor Gretchen Carlson. She lodged her complaint against CEO Roger Aisles. Carlson was one of many female News ‘girls’ in the network. Often also referred to as ‘hot’, ‘sexy’ and ‘babes’, these women were part of the image that mandated boobs, bums and pins be all-about and often on screen. You would hope that the ‘girls’ got appointed on ability. Yet I feel too that they get appointed on another requirement – sex appeal - although you will not find it in the selection criteria. Sadly, many organizations look for it and even demand it – sex appeal that is. Sometimes it is to be found in descriptors such as ‘flair’, ‘x-factor’, ‘personality plus’, ‘the wow’, ‘the look’. ‘style’. ‘panache’, ‘spark’, ‘pizzazz’, ‘verve’, yet all are just mostly code for sex appeal.
The matter of complaint was investigated by the ‘boys’ – James and Lachlan, sons of Rupert. Seems they found enough to give Aisles an ultimatum, resign or be fired. He took the first option. He walked. He got $40 million. Seems he had been valued. Carlson left too. She didn’t walk. Rather, she said it was she who was fired. She got $20 million and an apology. Nice. The payouts are interesting, don’t you think? Roger then sticks around as an advisor to Rupert. Guess they think that Gretchen’s now doing the dishes.
Carlson said in her Facebook post of 6 September ‘All women deserve a dignified and respectful workplace.’
What would you do if you were Head of HR at Fox and Carlson had come to you with her complaint? While you’re thinking about that take the test below. The result might frighten you!
Take this quiz if you are in any doubt about whether you or others are a victim of this pernicious form of behavior in your organization. There is no scoring regime here. Just ‘yes’ to one of that below is proof enough.
1 Unwelcome physical contact from another of either sex – groping, touching, rubbing, massaging, brushing, stroking and the like
2 Displays of rude or sexual gestures or movements
3 Unwelcome comments with sexual overtones or sexual innuendo
4 Displays of sexually explicit, pornographic or suggestive material
5 Sexual jokes that create offence
6 Obscene, suggestive or lewd text messages, notes, emails, phone calls, voice mails, tweets, photos
7 Solicitations for sex or intimate activity
8 Invasion of personal space with sexual overtones
9 Comments about physical appearance or endowments or lack thereof with sexual innuendo
10 Use of rituals, initiations, inductions, hazing (often described as ‘bonding’ or ‘rites of passage’) that have sexual aspects
11 Questions or speculation about another’s sex life
12 Unwanted invitations or proposals for a date
13 Unwelcome comment about another’s sexuality
14 Intrusive, offensive and unwarranted comments about sex
15 Requests for sex or personal intimacy in return for a benefit – pay rise, promotion, performance ranking, project, travel, assignment and the like
16 Blackmail or attempts there at re another’s sexuality or sexual activity or preferences
17 Speculation or gossip about another’s intimate relationships
18 Unwelcome invitations or suggestions to hug, embrace, kiss, cuddle or the like
19 Sexual banter disguised as workplace humor
20 Comments, stories, fantasies, or revelations from a perpetrator about their own sexuality that are uninvited and unwanted yet broadcast or shared with another
Total No. of Yeses ……………
Just one is proof enough!
Behavior such as the above requires action. Where you have a serial offender there has been a clear failure of leadership with HR remaining mute.
From: Leadership with a ‘T’ – a forthcoming eBook
Looking for a couple of HR pros to take a squiz at the eBook (final draft) – a book for those wanting to garner more from work. Email: tbombsalute (at) gmail com - Maybe check my prior blogs first.
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