Sexual harassment in the workplace doesn't have to be business as usual

The business section of the Sunday morning newspaper is the last place I thought I’d find an article about sexual harassment.  But, it may be one of the most impactful places to begin having the conversation.

Usually, I gravitate towards the Travel and Lifestyle sections of the paper. However, a headline on the front of the Chicago Tribune business section recently grabbed my attention:

 Male Allies Should Call Out Harassers.

I was surprised because sexual harassment is something I write about as a health educator. I didn’t expect to see it in the Business section! The headline led me to I Just Work Here, a weekly column written by Rex W. Huppke. In the article, Huppke discusses the perturbing events highlighted by a recent Fox News sexual harassment case. Using that situation as a platform, he delves into typical office shenanigans that happen on a daily basis and questions:

“Where are the men in this?” 

He argues it is time that men, not just women, step up and shut down sexual harassment, beginning with any comments, innuendos, and inappropriate sexual transgressions that are offensive and unprofessional towards women in the workplace.

As educators and parents, it is imperative we teach our boys and young men the importance of respecting women in the home, at school, and in the office. Recently I wrote about the Stanford rape case in which the dad brushed off the severity of his son’s actions. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Jackson Katz has made it his mission to educate men about how to behave appropriately towards women. Each of these archtypes exist in business, and either prevent or perpetrate workplace harassment. These two examples also highlight the importance of grown men mentoring, or failing to mentor, the younger generation. Huppke encourages mentoring as well, but surprisingly, in the business section of a newspaper.


Sexual harassment in the workplace affects employees at every level of a company

Hum. Now that I think about it, what better place? In a business environment, young professionals are learning the ropes from seasoned pros. What is learned in the workplace is often carried through to their social life. So, what is being modeled about workplace harassment? At every level of businesses, we need men of integrity to lead by standing up for what is appropriate, professional, and just plain considerate.

I love the challenge that Huppke is presenting to professional men. Heck, all men.

Huppke states: “A real man has the guts to stand up to behavior that harms others. And in the case of sexual harassment, in all its forms, I think we need more real men to lend a hand.”

Well said.

I have some engaging reading ahead of me: I see he wrote an article about getting our heads in the clouds. I think this guy Huppke has a new follower.


The business section is the last place I thought I'd read about sexual harassment

(Photos courtesy Adobe Stock)