John Doe was sitting at home watching a “Seinfeld” episode in which Jerry has trouble remembering a woman’s name, except for the fact that it rhymes with a part of the body.
Amused, John retells the joke to his colleagues the next day during a staff meeting. A few coworkers within earshot laugh. But even though some may have found it funny, John’s joke could still be deemed inappropriate for the workplace. He may have committed sexual harassment.
According to the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs (OAA/EOP), sexual harassment involves unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment can take different forms, and the determination of what constitutes sexual harassment can vary according to the particular context and circumstances. On Thursday, Oct. 11, the OAA/EOP and Division of Human Resources are hosting a free Sexual Harassment Awareness seminar from noon to 1 p.m. at 3624 Market St., Suite 1B South.
Designed to provide faculty and staff with an opportunity to become thoroughly familiar with Penn’s policies as they relate to sexual harassment, sexual violence, and consensual relationships, the seminar will address how to create and maintain a respectful workplace, explore the definitions and types of sexual harassment, and explain rights and responsibilities, and formal and informal complaint-resolution resources.
Faculty and staff who attend can expect to gain a clearer understanding of their rights as Penn employees and what is acceptable within the workplace, says Sam Starks, executive director of the OAA/EOP.
“In addition, they will have a chance to participate interactively in the session with material for a more in-depth discussion,” he says. “This session will give clear-cut examples of what constitutes sexual harassment. It will also cover areas of question as to whether a situation crossed the line.”
For complete details and to register, visit the HR website.
Originally published on October 4, 2012