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Inappropriate Calendar

Inappropriate Calendar

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This has been posted on www.accountingweb.co.uk, but it has been suggested to me that the members here may be interested in this subject too.

I have a colleague who annually has an FHM girly calendar on his wall. I object to this as being both unprofessional and sexist - but the general consenus among the (entirely male) partners is that he has always done so and will be retiring in a couple of years anyway (which they are looking forward to). Do I really have to put up with this? This month's is Carmen Electra in a wet t-shirt and skimpy knickers...

The said picture that I find offensive can be found at http://img228.exs.cx/img228/3946/20041106carmen068mf.jpg for those who want to look.

I do object as I find this portrayal of women as [***]-objects inappropriate in an office that employs women. I did ask him to buy a different calendar for this year which he promised (views of Tenerife was actually promised) and then he re-bought the FHM. I joined the office mid last-year.

The desk calendar he has is purely seen by him and I have no objection to that. It is the large pictures on the wall that I find so offensive.

Whilst these are freely available in the shops I must say I have never been in WHSmith and found it unavoidable to look at a scantily clad woman in a sexually provocative pose.

I don't see why my only options are to put up with it until he retires in a couple of years time or walk out of a job I love otherwise.

And no I don't propose to put up a calendar of sexually provocative young men to deal with the problem as I don't think that would be appropriate either - and I'm just guessing my mostly male clientele might just make comments, some of which could be very unwelcome....

"Rachel"

Replies (36)

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By Juliet LeFevre
17th Aug 2005 00:48

How many male executives would be allowed the equivalent of "A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle" to hang behind their desk?

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By Juliet LeFevre
22nd Aug 2005 19:19

>>>>I think maybe Ms LeFevre may well be an agent provocateur by any other name!>>>>

Curious. You clearly dont apply the same scepticism to "Rachel" despite having no authenticity for either of us.

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By plomas.fusionprovida.com
22nd Aug 2005 18:43

For the benefit of the previous post, my comments were not aimed solely at her, but as the saying goes 'if the cap fits....'

I only wish I had the time to send so many (6 so far) and such lengthy comments as you.

I think maybe Ms LeFevre with her vive le difference may well be an agent provocateur by any other name!

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By GmmLuckett
09th Aug 2005 10:30

The question is, is it offensive? As everyone has pointed out offence is subjective. However, Rachel finds it offensive so the answer to the question is yes. That being the case the calendar should be either removed or a less draconian action would be to restrict the view so only the owner of the calendar can see it. Thus demonstrating a bit of give and take on both sides encouraging a better working relationship.

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By downty1
26th Sep 2005 16:52

This may seem irrelevant but it is important that the context of the pictures are judged according to others perceptions and custom and practice. It may seem offensive to have Carmen Electra as a pin-up but how about Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse pictures? are these to be allowed

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By allanputt
09th Aug 2005 10:05

Having read the comments on this subject reminds me of an amusing incident a number of years ago when in a largely male office environment, the male boss approached a female member of staff to ask if she found a girlie calendar on display offensive. The lady in question had great delight in saying no as she had supplied it in the first place! (Her husband received many through his business so she would bring one in which she felt 'appropriate'). Guess now though that times may have changed.

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By Juliet LeFevre
18th Aug 2005 23:27

Rach,

I read the comments on Accountingweb at https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=143880&d=101&dateformat=%o-%B
all 145 of them. Seems like you got quite a roasting and have now moved on to us here.


For all you know your boss may be offended by talk of Brad Pitt, [***] jobs, Cosmo, make up tips et all.

If you want to wear a bikini in the office to prove a point - just so long as you dont contravene the company dress code -then thats fine, women are frequently pushing the barriers of decency and offensiveness all the time. In this instance the woman in question is clothed and in comparison to many lingerie shops her knickers are by no means 'skimpy'. Your comments are badly judged.

As regards informing institutes I dont see what thats got to do with it, its laws that count.

Lastly, if you post something on the www, you are going to get opposing viewpoints - you did ask for them remember - you certainly do need an implant of girly intelligence if you expect everyone to agree with your point of view. Lots of them critcised you for saying and doing nothing for months when the problem ocurred - only you can answer that one - now you are happy to follow the advice of others and post a link of the image. At some point you ought perhaps to assume some responsibility for your action/inaction and consistency.

You've already had well over 200 points of view and despite 2 weeks elapsing you appear to have done nothing isnt that enough agitation? We dont all have to agree with you but I'm sure mostly we all respect HR law on this one. If you want someone to agree with you pay a solicitor this however is the unregulated anarchic office of Joe Public- the comments you receive reflect what you paid for them.

Please dont get so steamy (sic) just because others disagree with you. This is a forum, not a love in.

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By Juliet LeFevre
18th Aug 2005 13:34

This is indeed a complex topic.

Whilst the enquirer finds it offensive to display the image in an office it has clearly been researched and the relevant web link tracked down and been posted on the web - thus enhancing its potential useage even further to a global audience. For someone who is offended by it, I find it curious that they would publicise and distribute it further - such is our moral minefield.
Whilst we're at it I find womens only swimming sessions, womens only yoga offensive - are are these the same people that are demanding female membership of men only golf or cricket clubs?

We cant all have it our own way all the time and ethics by their very nature pass in and out of fashion all the time.

In Italy they'd probably let Carmen stand for parliament. But would you vote for her???

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By User deleted
19th Aug 2005 10:11

I posted the comment to get general views on the appropriateness of the calendar in a professional office. I respect most poster's views that have stuck to that topic whether I agree with them or not. That was the point of the post. The issues were: what was the general consensus of the appropriateness of this in a professional environment? Does it not demean the firm's professional image for all clients that enter this particular office?
What are the options for dealing with such an issue?

However there are a lot of assumptions being posted on both forums.

I must be ugly. I must be jealous. I must take Cosmo into work and ogle it and receive soft [***] e-mails which I circulate to my girlfriends. I must not have commented about the calendar the day I started work. I mustn't have asked him to refrain from buying one of that nature again. I must be some dizzy airhead that talks about make-up and boyfriends all day rather than do any meaningful professional work. Is that really how the members of accountingweb and HRweb see the women in the accountancy profession?

I don't agree that I got a roasting on accountingweb at all. There were many comments supporting me. I guess you only noticed what supported your viewpoint. I did not post the image - I posted a link. There was free will to anyone if they chose to look or not and they were fully warned. You have no idea what action I chose to take and nor do I have to inform the members. If was their opinion I asked for prior to taking action. The end result is a private matter for this firm.

And if you are an accountant I think your view that "ethics by their very nature pass in and out of fashion all the time" would maybe be of interest to your Institute. I think your comments speak a lot more about how you conduct yourself than I do.

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By User deleted
09th Aug 2005 14:47

I just wanted to respond to a couple of points.

David - are you really suggesting that Rachel is 'pathetic' for wanting this poster to be removed? I don't think this poster can really be compared to a work of art. I'm glad you aren't my HR representative with an attitude like that!

I did a quick straw poll of staff in my office (even split of male and female). The men loved the picture, the women weren't so bothered, but all of them agreed that it was entirely inappropriate to have it up at work. I think that is the main point of this.

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By dfaik
18th Aug 2005 11:14

This brings up many difficult memories for me. I've often found myself as the only man or one of a few in many HR departments.

In one larger HR department where I was on contract everything seemed fine when I joined. Then, after Christmas, one of the HR Administrators got a calendar of Johny Wilkinson (the rugby player) which she put up on the office wall. Month after month of looking at this man just in shirts or topless was terrible, and not appropriate in a work place.

Vogue magazine and similar began to creep into the office and at lunchtime I'd sometimes walk up on my colleagues when they would be sitting around and pointing out the picures of nearly naked men on the pages and making comments like "what I'd do with that six pack" and "nice [***]".

My peers would also talk about men in other departments - saying things like "that Mark in Accounts isn't very clever but he's dead dreamy" and similar.

All this talk of men as [***] objects and posters of super-men on the walls was offensive, all the more so as I wasn't even included in the [***] object category.

Had I read this posting and all the support, perhaps I would have had the courage to stand up for myself. In particular Colborn's corner this week would have given me some direction as to what to do with my grievances:

http://www.hrzone.co.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=144168

However, don't worry about the lasting impact on me. I moved on to better work. But more importantly I am a strong person and I am OK now.

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By User deleted
18th Aug 2005 16:52

When I posted this query on accounting web I was criticised for not putting a link up as no-one could judge what I thought was inappropriate. So I did - and fully warned as to the contents people could choose whether or not to view.

But apparently that's wrong as well. If I dressed up in a skimpy bikini to see clients I think there would be comments and quite possibly a P45 issued. Put a large picture up on the wall and I'm being some jealous saddo who needs to get out more for saying I don't think it should be in the office as a permanent fixture. God help any young girls under the illusion they are working to enter a profession where their intelligence and ability will be essential. Perhaps the last poster would like to tell the Institutes that ethics have gone out of fashion. I'm sure they will be interested in her debate.

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By plomas.fusionprovida.com
10th Aug 2005 10:00

I have read the mixture of opinions with interest but I think the most important issue has been missed. We clearly all have different levels of tolerance to such issues but it is not what we think that counts - it is what the individual feels about seeing Ms Electra all day and every day. If the culprit has already been quietly asked to take the picture down, he is clearly demonstrating that he does not care about her feelings (male dominance?). The whole issue goes much further than just a picture on a wall. I hope this lady has a professional HR Department to go to who will respect HER feelings and not judge the situation based on their own levels of tolerance. This is a very personal issue and if we are HR professionals, we should deal with it to her satisfaction and then ensure that she does not suffer detriment for raising the issue!

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By User deleted
09th Aug 2005 21:30

This letter has certainly generated a lot of replies. I think (and I'm not in HR, I am a team leader):
1. Verbally request that the calender is removed and give reasons why.
2. Given a written request for the calender to be removed and the reasons why.
3. If still no action, approach your boss with a copy of the letter and advise him that you feel really strongly about this and that you require him to take further action.
4. If still no action, send all managing partners of the firm a letter stating what actions you've taken so far and what action you would like them to take.
If you later decide to take legal action, you have records of your requests (no one can later claim they didn't realise you were that upset about it).
I think if you are professional in your manner at all times relating to this and make sure all your ducks are in a line, they can't dismiss your worries as being those of a silly female (or a tough-as-guts feminist - heaven forbid!)who is causing trouble for the office old boy.
Good Luck!!!!

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By User deleted
09th Aug 2005 11:42

It seems to me that the first reply you had is potentially the most useful.
Apart from being unprofessional (as indeed are most posters, cuddly toys, etc in offices, in my opinion) this could easily constitute sexual harrassment. I think it certainly would be the case if you were to raise the issue as a grievance to say that you find it offensive. Then, if it is not removed and no satisfactory explanation can be given as to why it should remain on display, you could argue sexual harrassment.
You could,as one reply has noted, also point out to the company the potential cost of not having an harassment policy.

I hope this is helpful.

I am a little disappointed at some of the ageist comments in some of the replies, especially from HR people who should know better. Why is it assumed that this behaviour is somehow age related - where is the evidence?

Peter

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By annlewis
09th Aug 2005 11:57

Oh how this takes me back. I first went into HR just before the [***] Discrimination Act became law. (Yes, I know that dates me - humour me for a moment.) What has largely disappeared, thank goodness, since those days, is the attitude to women which went with such calendars - we really were [***] objects first and capable human beings second.

I say "largely" because I do think this is a generation issue, but I don't agree that there is any reason to expect Rachel to put up with it for another two years. The person displaying the image is also displaying the attitude.

So I am with those who suggest that you take ownership of your feelings, request the removal or masking of the calendar (and tell him why, calmly and professionally - maybe he doesn't realise it's offensive?), and be prepared to make a stand if nothing happens. In my view this potential harassment, which becomes harassment in law if he refuses your request.

Please don't let's go back to the bad old days when men were men and women were tarts or saints.

Ann Lewis

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By credmore
09th Aug 2005 12:39

Since you have asked the elderly man to remove the poster, and everyone knows that you object to it, I’m afraid you’ve joined in a game of power politics whether you like it or not. At this point, your choice is to either pursue the complaint and formally, but politely and with good humour, *insist* that the poster be removed or relegate yourself to a minor role in the company for a long as you remain.

I would say that the implicit fear of being known as a troublemaker or prude may not materialize if you succeed in having the poster removed. Simply don’t crow or ever mention the issue again. You will have shown your ability to make things happen without rancour. That could be a useful ability when handling difficult customers.

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By masonsa1
09th Aug 2005 12:41

I can understand and sympathize with Rachel's comments and agree she should continue with her quest to remove the calendar. If Rachel can put up with it for the rest of the year - how about buying him a calendar for Christmas!

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By Franck lynch
09th Aug 2005 17:05

I'm 53, male and happy to confess I used the link to view and enjoy)the image. I left a predominantly male engineering environment in the RAF and came to work in an office of 3 women where I was to be and still am the only male. I have been amazed at the topics of conversation that my female colleagues openly discuss in front of me and the graphical explanations used for this and that. These conversations go way beyond anything that I have come across in a similar male get together. I have to say I'm not bothered by whats being discussed around me but I accept thats me and my choice.

However I would like to raise one little issue and that is - What is a [***] object? I remember as a boy sneeking looks at images in magazines that would be now considered much to weak for Page 3 of a certain daily newspaper that seems to be now required to be banned from offices as someone finds the concept of the paper containing such an image offensive. Food for thought.

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By policymaker
09th Aug 2005 17:16

Rachel,

What ever you decide to do don't follow the advice in the first comment from Lisa and take the calendar and post it to her for burning. This would criminalise both of you - you for theft, conspiracy to steal and conspiracy to commit criminal damage, Lisa for receiving stolen goods, conspiracy to steal, conspiracy to commit criminal damage and criminal damage if she actally burned the offending article. This is not a good career move for an accountant.

As you find his calendar offensive either make a formal complaint of sexual harrasment pointing out that he had agreed not to display offensive material but went back on his word or refuse to go into the room where it is on display and say why and that you will pursue a claim for sexual harrasment if you are required to enter the room. If you are worried that it may damage your career prospects take heart from the compensation that you can claim if promotion / pay increases etc that you could reasonably expect are withheld.

Do be careful though - do you take magazines into the office with pictures that he could say are just as bad? Many "womens" magazines have pictures of semi dressed women on the cover and you can hardly expect your complaint to be taken seriously if he can show that you are bringing similar material into the office. It's a paradox, we have a pile of "womens" magazines in our office but if I had the pictures from some of their front covers on display in a calendar I would be in breach of our "equalities" policy.

Some organisations do take this issue seriously - if I opened the link to view the picture that you find offensive I could be fired - and even if you don't want to pursue a complaint you don't put up with it as there are plenty of opportunities out there with organisations that don't allow this sort of inappropraite behaviour.

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By patward
08th Aug 2005 11:21

I would agree that the first step is to ask the person in question to remove the offending calendar and if no action is taken I would take out a grievance if you still feel very strongly.

You may want to note the decision in Moonsar V Fiveways Express Transport Ltd which has similarities. This was a case in which men were watching pornographic films on a computer in the office. Although the images were not circulated to Ms Moonsar she worked in close proximity and was aware of what was happening. She made no complaint.

The Tribunal originally said that the conduct and lack of complaint could not amount to discrimination by way of sexual harassment. But later at the EAT, the defence argued that this sort of sexual behaviour, carried out by male office workers in the presence of a female worker certainly did have the potential of amounting to an affront to this lady’s dignity.

The EAT found in Moonsar’s favour saying that the fact that she did not complain at the time did not afford a defence because the behaviour was so obvious. Sexual discrimination was therefore found in this case.

Furthermore as of October 2005, the [***] Discrimination Act will be further fine tuned in favour of employees. The amendments will include:

extending protection from victimisation to post-employment acts

express inclusion of harassment as a form of unlawful discrimination

I am surprised that no-one has pointed out to him that it is entirely inappropriate not to say unprofessional to have a calendar of that nature on display before now.

Let us know what happens!

Annie Hayes MCIPD
HRZone Editor www.hrzone.co.uk

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By Mark Alcroft
09th Aug 2005 09:49

I assume that the Company has no formal policy on what is or is not acceptable for puiblic display in their offices. This being the case the correct approach would be to requestthe Comapny to introduce such a policy. In the absence of this taking unilateral action by destroying the offending calendar would be wrong, since it's his personal property. One also has to be wary about the "if you find it offensive, then it's offensive" argument. lots of people find all sorts of things personally offensive (with me it's religious imagery) but that doesn't give everybody the right to go aruond destroying each others belongings

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By rjsmith.das.co.uk
09th Aug 2005 10:06

I have previously been in the situation that you are in ..... almost.

As a young man i worked in a predominantly female office, all of whom had calendars of men ranging from pop groups with their tops off through to what amounts to soft [***] shots.

Seeing that it was acceptable to have 'raunchy' calendars i purchased the FHM calendar and put it up on my bit of wall.

Within two hours i was called into the managers office and told that the calendar was offensive to the girls and should be removed immediately. I requested that the girls therefore removed their calendars and was told that they could stay as they were not offensive to anyone!

Whilst i agree that different things are offensive to different people and anyone that feels uncomfortable should report it and it should be dealt with swiftly; there does seem to be a double standard in a lot of situations. Robbie Williams half naked is ok but to take this example Carmen Electra fully clothed is not??

Sorry to waffle!!

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By davidwh
09th Aug 2005 10:06

One suggestion is to look away and avoid appearing pathetic and embittered. Perhaps this type of "art objector" should also avoid any galleries, museums, films or sculptural exhibits during their summer holidays

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By User deleted
09th Aug 2005 10:34

Oh dear. I'm clearly in a minority of 1 here.(Or the only 1 who dare go against the PC grain.) Yes, the calendar is 'inappropriate' - although the model clearly feels HER dignity is not at stake as she cashes the large cheque. The bloke in my office with the smelly feet is 'inappropriate', and the girl with the low-slung hipster trousers, unappetising thong and monkey tattoo is 'inappropriate' and ... ad nauseum.
Perhaps it's just me, but what with all the worries in the world, aren't we getting just a tiny bit hot under the collar here?
I expect a torrent of emails telling me to scurry back into my unsavoury neanerthal cave and stop being so downright inappropriate. Still, it's good for the hrzone that we don't all feel the same way!

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By User deleted
09th Aug 2005 10:53

I think times have changed back to the pre-80s days. The rise of lads mags and ten years of "show it all" Girl Power has made sexual images a rather boring commonplace. The workplace is just a symptom of all that and most people won't understand what the fuss is all about.
It seems that the argument against women (and to a lesser extent, men) being seen as sexual objects has been comprehensively lost. There isn't a contradiction any more between a woman being a professional and being a laddette. Perhaps younger people get the nuances of all this, and this older man just doesn't.

He's a saddo - don't let him take up a moment more of your thoughts.

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By Nkellingley
08th Aug 2005 09:50

I agree with everyone else here in that if you find it offensive then it is offensive, plain and simple. The wording of the legislation means that it's how you view the material that matters not how he intends it.

I would encourage you to make another informal approach regarding this and then if this is not successful to utilise you grievance procedure to highlight your discomfort with the material.

You might also want to pin up by your own desk a few articles on the pay outs awarded by Employment Tribunal regarding sexual harassment - they might find these offensive too but it might help you get your point across without causing war in the office.

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By User deleted
04th Aug 2005 16:10

Rachel

Time to be a feisty lady and get rid of that calander!
I've had a look at the ACAS website, and they define harrassment as the following:

Harassment, in general terms, is

Unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to age, [***], race, disability, religion, nationality or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient.

Sometimes the ‘grey’ areas that cause most problems. It is good practice for employers to give examples of what is unacceptable behaviour in their organisation and this may include:

• unwelcome sexual advances – touching, standing too close, display of offensive materials

If your company has a harrassment policy, then now might be the time to take a look and gently remind the senior partners what it is there for. I doubt they would accept photo's like this being emailed around, so why should they accept them on an office wall??
If all else fails, take it down, post it to me and I will happily burn it for you!

Good luck and keep me posted. It never fails to amaze me what people think is acceptable at work.

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By User deleted
05th Aug 2005 15:59

Yes definately time to say something, as this person is aupported by the partners in the display why not ask them formally to take action?

If you truly feel that you need to bin the calendar or walk from the job then you have little to lose by making an official complaint and making it clear you find it offensive. If however this is just irritating, then maybe a less strident approach may give you the result you need.

Http://www.limeone.com

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By susanreid
06th Aug 2005 22:53

Hi

I agree with the other responses, however, as a purely personal reaction, I would find it hard to find the courage to raise a formal complaint about something like this, particularly in a male environment where I was unlikely to be supported.

In my experience, it seems that younger men have cottoned on to the idea that this behaviour is unacceptable and it's the older ones who stubbornly refuse to change their ways. Armed with the ACAS information, you may be able to argue your case and point out to this chap that what he may see as a display of his youthful interest is confirmation to the rest of the company that he's out of touch and behaving like a dinosaur. That might hurt his pride because I suspect that he thinks he's a young virile lad!

If you feel so strongly that you are prepared to leave your job, then this approach might not help at all, and I'm sorry that this man's behaviour has affected you so. Don't do anything rash like leaving without stating your case. You may want to tell him how much this is upsetting you. Print off these pages, that might make him realise. If not a sexual harrassment case certainly will!

Good luck.

Susan

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By Juliet LeFevre
19th Aug 2005 11:14

>>>>You have no idea what action I chose to take and nor do I have to inform the members. If was their opinion I asked for prior to taking action. The end result is a private matter for this firm

Kinda weakens your case considerably if you claim confidentiality, no one is asking you to name names just let us know what you chose to do. Despite being asked you choose not to this brings into doubt authenticity and your reasons for posting.

I (like others) cant help thinking you just want to stir up a debate and divide the sexes. You've had your replies, (all 200 of them many of which agree with you - possibly even me - dont be so assumptive) please now drop it and DO something.

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By plomas.fusionprovida.com
22nd Aug 2005 11:06

I am disheartened by the critical and offensive comments made towards Rachel by some previous contributors.

I had thought hrzone was a network where people could come for advice and support, not to be criticised and denegrated for having an optinion that is not upheld by everyone.

Debate is always good, but let's keep it civilised!

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By dfaik
22nd Aug 2005 16:13

I thought the original posting was tongue in cheek, posted in order to stir up debate amongst the community over a sensitive topic. My original reply was in that vein.

The issues were, to my mind, great ones that HR professionals face every day:

* what is "appropriate"
* where does "poor taste" end and "sexual harassment" begin
* are the same anti-discrimination considerations applied to all groups.
* how should organisations set policies that deal with areas that are very subjective by nature?
* what are cultural "norms" - for example in Saudi Arabia this calendar certainly would not be acceptable! Are these just what "the law" states, should you aim for higher standards?
* how do you accommodate people with differing cultural norms in the same work place? (e.g. - a woman that wants to wear shorter skirts in summer and man who finds this offensive.)
* by banning an action that might cause offence you restrict the freedom of all of your employees, what is the trade off and how do you strike a good balance? (e.g. would it be fair if women in a company were banned from wearing short skirts in the summer because one man is offended?)
* can you have sub-cultures from organisation to organisation - so if a behaviour was going on before the complainant joined the organisation do they have a right to complain if it isn't breaking any laws? (e.g. the women in a company always used to wear short skirts in the summer before John started, but he finds this offensive)
* how should HR professionals react when something many people find trivial is very important to one employee?
* what does the law say?
* is the media in which the "offensive" material is published a factor - so poster / magazine left in the office / e-mail etc?

If the posting was about a real situation that "Rachel" is facing it would be nice of her to inform the communities that have read her message and posted replies what action she took, and the outcome.

Rachel - did you get any valid help, get a better understanding of how other people might view the situation or learn anything from this process? Did you "do" anything, was it different to what you would have done before posting and what was the outcome?

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By Juliet LeFevre
22nd Aug 2005 13:04

Pat,

Having read your previous post on 10th Aug I can't help thinking your comments are aimed at me.

>>>>I had thought hrzone was a network where people could come for advice and support, not to be criticised and denegrated for having an optinion that is not upheld by everyone.>>>

'Fraid this just isnt so, I couldnt track down any rules for the forum but neither could I find any reference to advice and support - this is a forum the most widely accessible forum on the planet - its global - differences of opinion will occur - live with it. Its an anarchy not a democracy. One of the things that the web is doing is creating more debate and people who previously never attended public meetings but now read forums find themselves surprised at the strength of opinion and differences that occur and are exposed to renegade elements they previously shunned.

The internet has changed the rules of engagement and the way we interact forever - some adjustment is needed by the reader.

The poster has paid nothing to come to this site, in fact they've done the virtual equivalent of posting a big banner in Trafalgar Square, left it and walked away happy to revisit it and read the replies left asking anyone and everyone who passes to comment. And thats exactly what allcomers have done. To expect to control this, call for tolerance or to regulate it is simply unrealistic.

Lastly many of the judgement calls made by the poster - "portrays women as [***] objects", "sexist" "sexually provocative" are subjective and in the eye of the beholder. Although there is legislation in this area to give us guidance, as a society this is an ethical point that has been debated for decades. The cut off between [***], degration of women, high art, the boundaries of decency etc. These boundaries constantly change and evolve, they are fluid (in society's mind)

It would seem that the sexes view the issue differently - is the application of lipstick a blatant attempt to lure men and appeal to base instincts? Is the outline of a G-string under a skirt offensive despite being 'hidden'?

Without attraction and stimulation our race does not survive, lets for once celebrate our differences and emacipate both sexes so we can all lead fulfilling lives without fear of offence to either.

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By patward
22nd Aug 2005 16:49

Dear Juliet,

Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to pick up on your posting regarding rules of the forum. You'll see from the Any Answers homepage that there are some general rules - posted by our Community Manager, Dawn Marie Dart. If you have any complaint please do email her at: [email protected]

I'd also like to thank Rachel for her posting and for all your contributions to date - it certainly has been an issue that you all have strong views upon. We value our freedom here on HR Zone to shout back and have our say whilst of course being respectful of others opinions!

Best Wishes
Annie Hayes, Editor HR Zone

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By Juliet LeFevre
22nd Aug 2005 16:31

I know of many men actually offended that IT departments can get away without wearing a tie - yet they in the same company cant. Despite IT often being customer facing it has become established IT industry norm for tech depts to be tieless, v-necked T-shirts and chest hair are rampant. Is this blatant stripping to be considered an outrage and shouldnt we as HR be clamping down?

OK that last comment was tongue in cheek but it does serve to underline how vague the measuring sticks are in this field and how both sexes feel emotive about issues (and rightly so).

I also know of staff who are 'offended' that employers would spend money to build or redecorate a smoking room - spending money to accomodate a personal habit. Their argument is they like the odd pint as a personal habit but the company doesnt build a bar with snooker table for them. Just look how public (and government) opinion is changing on this issue.
Its a minefield out there!

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