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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

‘Joking Around’ Isn’t Funny When It Comes To Workplace Harassment

Herman Cain recently told the Wall Street Journal,”I do have a sense of humor, and some people have a problem with that,” when responding to allegations of sexual harassment. Cain has denied he sexually harassed anyone, and says he isn’t the type of person to make people uncomfortable with inappropriate comments.

But when does a joke go too far in the workplace?

Katrina Campbell of Global Compliance works with companies to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. She says that people often get in trouble for making jokes that aren’t appropriate in the workplace.

Campbell says while some people accused of sexual harassment are making a power play, others are just oblivious to the impact of their actions.


  • Katrina Campbell, vice president for training and education at Global Compliance

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  • http://27183.myopenid.com/ Your name

    Very useful training video on sexual harassment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsZlLDGs604

  • MTJohn

    Today’s program was very informative regarding the matter of sexual harassment. 

    With all of the reports about Herman Cain’s alleged behavior, I have yet to hear any report that explores the “coincidence” that two women negotiated settlement agreements with the NRA and resigned their positions in 1999 which was the same year that Herman Cain left the organization.  I say coincidence because I heard one report that Cain’s contract with NRA was for employment through 2002.

  • Frank N. Blunt

    Don’t go there, sexual harassment isn’t a providence of men but women just as well.  Isn’t surprising that such an attorney prowls this area to get the most bang for their suit; that’s the definition of opportunist and exploitation, meanwhile other people needing protection are absent of supposed idealists.  Instead of purveying useful information and awareness, this episode perpetrated much of the same unfair portrayals of women being the helpless victims of an old boys network and that is as wrong on the personal side as it is in error about gender characteristics.
    Need to get another viewpoint because there are male victims as well.
    Other matters include the values crisis experienced in this era as well as the issues with the media including television,  radio, and print beside the messages promoted by advertising.  All too often they are definitely meant to entreat the lowest common denominator; you can’t tell me that nothing out there espouses using your looks and sex for an advantage in any situation possible.   The influence is as evident as it is unfortunate, upon women and men alike, but most alarmingly upon children.  That is where sensitivity, ethics, and morals must begin and even though that may happen, somewhere along the way it all changes.
    Personal responsibility should be priority and the main influence on behavior, but the fundamental issue should be the hypocrisy of ScAmerican society especially the corporatocracy influenced culture of double standard as well as their pseudo-patriotism.  This is among other matters involving groups, institutions, and even peer pressure.  So much denial about reality as well as delusions about supposed exceptionalism have gotten this nation into trouble both domestically and globally with issues of integrity, credibility, and capability.  Time to resolve the core issues affecting social institutions, an otherwise kleptocracy, and systemic dysfunction else this era will be difficult to endure.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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