No More Taboo Talk

It is almost at the end of the fall trimester here at Johnson and Wales, and I can’t believe how fast the past three months have been going! Taking online classes is so different and a bit difficult for me. I just try to keep a positive attitude that the more difficult the class is, the more I will retain in the end. Well, let’s at least hope that’s the way it goes!

The past few weeks in my Human Resources class we have been talking about behavior in the workplace and specifically sexual harassment and how to handle it as a potential boss and manager. Each week we are asked to take part in ‘discussions’ online. These are forum-setting discussions for each specific topic and are there to take the place of in class participation points.

We were asked about how we would handle an employee coming up to us as the manager and filing a complaint about another employee about sexual harassment. Everyone shared various stories or their thoughts on the subject; I can say I was honestly amazed about some of the responses.

The class was split, about half of the students were very much for a zero tolerance policy in the work place and the other half, well, was not. One student in particular thought that if the victim did not want to press charges then he would move the victim to another department, almost like a demotion for being harassed! Another student thought that any verbal comments or other behavior that did not go beyond touching or physically hurting someone was okay, “because that’s just what happens in a kitchen”.

I personally think that this is completely unacceptable and it shocks me that today people my own age would believe such things. Just because the food service industry has a history of being sexist and having a high tolerance of harassment does not mean that this is still acceptable today. No one should ever have to feel uncomfortable in their work place, regardless of the reason.

As a woman in the food service industry that has worked with others that thought that making sexual comments or other innapropirate behavior was acceptable, I have always stood up for myself and others. I would not and will not allow any type of harassment to occur or be accepted in my business or any other place that I work, and I encourage you to take the same stance.