The current gynocentric hysteria of combatting perceived sexual harassment of women is creating a multitude of bureaucratic government agencies and quasi-governmental functionaries, bound by hierarchal politically correct dictates, which function for social control of individuals and groups under threat of government violence for “non compliance”. The mandated NYS Sexual Harassment policy placed upon businesses, even small family operations including farm operations, serves as an example.
New York State law recently mandated that ALL employers provide sexual harassment training for employees and have a policy in place to deal with it. The law applies to not only employees but also to job applicants, contractors, interns (even if unpaid), and persons conducting business with them. While the law allows businesses to make their own policy it must comply with the state mandates. The state provides a Model Policy and given possible legal ramifications for non compliance it is hard to imagine a policy will be adopted other than by the state policy verbatim. This is in addition to federal employment (E.E.O.C.) laws and regulations, and Penal Law protections of individuals.
There are a multitude of problems with these laws:
- They imply sexual harassment of women in the workplace is a widespread problem.
- They are bureaucratic social controls over individuals actions not based upon normal human business interactions.
- They are sexually biased against men in dealing with false allegations.
- They are sexual biased against male victims of sexual harassment by women.
- They have vague descriptions of what constitutes sexual harassment.
- They criminalizes non criminal activity.
- They create multiple overlapping enforcement agencies.
- They deny due process and double jeopardy protections for individuals and businesses.
The deadline for implementation of the NYS Law was October 9, 2018 which prompted the NYS Farm Bureau to respond with resources for compliance for its members (November 2018 “Grassroots”) with a full page (pg. 3) of articles on gaining compliance. The requirements; interactive training, training in the language of the employee, public posting and individual distribution of the policy, will add a large bureaucratic burden on small operations. Worse, the overlapping regulatory agencies with differing and obtuse definitions make it almost impossible for an individual to remain in compliance and businesses will be forced to legally defend themselves against complaints.
We need only to look at page 5 of this same publication (Do the Right Thing on Sexual Harassment Prevention by Richard Stup, Ph.D., workforce development, Cornell University) to find exaggerations of the “problems” and sexual bias towards men in the application of this new law. Simply by choosing this title Stup is insinuating we have NOT been doing the right thing regarding sexual harassment. Following the politically correct liberal view of sexual harassment, male perpetrators and female victims, he goes on to give extreme anecdotal examples in support of his “men are bad” position.
Let’s look at these “real-life examples”, and offer some differing real world – real life examples NY MAN has encountered in 25 years of advocacy for men. First his examples given and then the real world examples in italics.
A young woman starting out in agribusiness is introduced to a client by the salesman she is replacing and the client states “she is much better looking than the last guy” and she felt demeaned as she was being judged by her looks and not her value. Upon being introduced to a client by the person she is replacing the client states she is “much better looking than the last guy”. She responds with “that’s not much of a compliment given the looks of that guy”. They all laugh and then get down to business. OR, A new saleswoman is uncomfortable when a client comments on her looks and she politely asks him not to in the future and he politely complies.
An American Male farm employee has a crush on a Mexican female farm employee and blocks her passage to get her attention. She stated she wasn’t interested but he persisted and she felt threatened. A female farm employee from Mexico develops a crush on an American male farm employee. She took to blocking his passage by bending over in front of him and would press against him when passing even though there was room to pass. His protestations drew criticism from the employer and fellow employees, telling him he was “lucky” to have the attention and they questioned his manliness and sexual orientation for declining her offers. OR, An American male farm employee rebuffed the advances of a Mexican female farm employee. To get even she field a complaint of sexual harassment against him alleging he brushed his body against hers while they were working. He was fired based upon her allegation alone.
A Farmers Daughter was subjected to extended looks and even a few whistles from farm employees as she did her chores. While trying to do their work farm employees were continually subjected to the farmers daughter who dressed inappropriately for farm work and suggestively sexually animated her actions in sight of the male employees making them all uncomfortable to the point they started to avoid her and vacate buildings when she entered. They feared reprisals or even being fired for pointing it out and so said nothing. OR, A farmer noted untoward advances towards his daughter, warned the offending employee to stop, then fired the one who didn’t comply.
Stup goes on to say women readers will recognize these scenarios and men need to take them more seriously. Thus he points to his sexist “women are victims – men are perpetrators” gynocentrically biased view of sexual harassment. In all the cases he presented Stup fails to see the real world perspective of men which includes both male and female victims and also false allegations by “victims” as well as perpetrators who deny their actions occurred. This one sided view of the issue can have negative consequences for small business owners.
By using vague descriptions to define sexual harassment and by defining sexual harassment ONLY by actions committed by men the system is training businesses to ignore both false allegations and also male victims of sexual harassment. Many men have successfully resorted to civil litigation for employer (or organization) non compliance with sexual harassment of male victims and the creation of hostile work environments. Those suffering false allegations have also successfully litigated the denial of due process and unlawful dismissal from employment. While these laws are mandated by government, it is the employer who suffers the litigation and financial penalties.
The vague definition of sexual harassment, acts which “are objectionable or offensive to the recipient” allows a person to find offense where none is intended. Simple innocent comments such as “you look good today” can be turned into an offense. The workplace is being turned into a hostile environment for men who fear that any comment will be taken with offense and negatively impact their job and career. Allegation, even if not resulting in dismissal, will stay on the employment history of individuals and worker camaraderie and team work suffer in a sterile work environment with employees avoiding human interaction.
An unintended consequence of ignoring false allegations and male victims is that men are excluding themselves from interactions with women when they can avoid them. By separating themselves from females men do not have to worry about an unintended action or comment being taken wrong. False allegations can be avoided by avoiding females in the work environment. Men are simply not working on joint ventures with female coworkers nor are they mentoring younger female workers due to the possible negative ramifications of the false allegation or misconstrued comment or action.
It’s not hard to see that a male small business owner would determine that not hiring women to work under him, or along side with male employees, will help to prevent them from having to defend against a hostile work environment complaint against them or the few male employees working under them. Given the possible negative outcomes a small business may just forego getting larger and hiring any employees due to the bureaucratic oversight that comes with it.
While well meaning these vaguely defined “violations” open to interpretation by both the “victim” and unelected government bureaucrats with mandated postings, reporting , and complaint investigations under threat of penalty by government is adding greatly to the expense of operating a business. Sexual biases toward males in both false reporting and in male victims has negative outcomes for both men and women. Indeed, it appears that the only party which benefits from these policies are the government bureaucrats and compliance advisors who increase the size of their agency under the guise of doing good.