Sexual harassment works both ways

In the large majority of cases, the sexual harassment victim is female. Quite commonly, the harasser is a supervisor who intimidates a subordinate with promises of a wage increase and promotion or threats of a hard time on the job or dismissal.

07/01/1999


In the large majority of cases, the sexual harassment victim is female. Quite commonly, the harasser is a supervisor who intimidates a subordinate with promises of a wage increase and promotion or threats of a hard time on the job or dismissal.

But a growing number of role reversal cases indicates that males are by no means immune to harassment. Electrician Grade II George Parkas learned this the hard way. Parkas was young, blonde, handsome, and, as a consensus of women in the department agreed, "a hunk." He was also a married man with two kids. His direct supervisor, Group Leader Ann Rapp, began her campaign to get George into bed subtly enough. But when George showed no interest, her advances became increasingly bold ranging from suggestive remarks to rubbing up against him at every opportunity.

Parkas told her to knock it off, at first in a joking way, and finally he told her to take a cold shower.

This comment triggered an outburst of anger. "I can't stand fairies in my department," she retorted, and threatened to kill his scheduled merit increase.

At this point Parkas complained to his department head, Maintenance Foreman Carl Hoffman, threatening to sue Ann Rapp and the company for sexual harassment.

Question: In Hoffman's shoes, what steps would you take?

Randolph's resolution: Hoffman explained the situation to Plant Engineer Will Randolph, whose first move was to supervise a discreet investigation into Parkas' charges. When they were found to be substantiated, Rapp was summarily fired. In addition, arrangements were made to strengthen and update the company's written sexual harassment and retaliation policy.





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