Sexual harassment: Is it a two-way street?

Sexual harassment has been around a long time. It probably started the first week that cavemen (and cavewomen) left their campfires and moved into offices to handle tribal business and deal with Wooly Mammoth futures or flint spear-point production.

When we think of sexual harassment at the office, it’s often in the context of a male supervisor or coworker making unwanted advances (sometimes serious threats) toward a female subordinate or coworker. But it can include female bosses bothering male employees, or same-sex harassment. Being obnoxious is not gender specific. In the past, those accused have ranged from some very recent U.S. presidents to high-level officials and even park rangers. There are high-profile cases — from Bill Cosby to Bill O’Reilly — all over the place almost all of the time. It happens in churches too. Some of the behavior is criminal in nature. Most of us have heard about work-related incidents. Many of us have direct knowledge of them either through friends and coworkers or because we were the victim. Or the accused.

While on sick leave last week (bad back), the editors ran a recent column, “Sexual harassment at work: Some people never learn.” It was about allegations of what sounds like super-hostile working conditions at the National Park Service. And what the Interior Department plans to do about it.

Several people had comments about the column — and the situation governmentwide. One, an Internal Revenue Service worker who said I was waaaay behind the times. It’s a new world out there, he said. According to him, the growing number of women in top government jobs has meant an increase in female-on-male sexual harassment incidents. He wrote:

”Mike,

“You are showing your age. One of the main reasons for sexual harassment has been men in power who have tried to force their attention on women they had some control over. Today, we have more women in power than in the history of IRS. The pendulum will now swing to having some women forcing themselves on men they have some control over. I have a friend who worked for another agency whose problem was that he looked like Billy Dee Williams and his female supervisor kept giving him poor annual reviews for obvious reasons. He had to be moved to another office.

“Mike, the world is now in 2017 and the game and players have changed. Please remember this for your next column on sexual harassment. “

— Gene

Fair enough. Gene may very well be onto something, although Billy Dee Williams is now 80-years old and it’s likely that his back-in-the-day IRS lookalike probably hasn’t been harassed for some time. But the point is well taken. So what do you think? Is boorish/dangerous sexual behavior at the office now more of a two-way street? Send me an email with your take.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Michael O’Connell

In Star Wars lore, Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon from its previous owner, Lando Calrissian, in a game of sabacc.

Source: Fandom

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