#265: Reverse Sexual Harassment at Work

(Hot summer weather means lighter and less clothing. But less dress, irrespective of gender, is still a cover. And we are still human enough to judge a body (or a book) by its cover.)

Did you hear the one about the bus driver who asked his female passenger to move or get off his bus? (Believe it or not, this is a true story. It happened in Germany, several summers ago, and a German newspaper was no doubt delighted with its scoop.)

She had on a very low-cut blouse and was sitting right in the sight-line of his rear-view mirror. He complained that she was distracting him from doing his job safely. A form of sexual harassment, no doubt. But who was harassing whom?

I have witnessed many similar examples of what I call reverse sexual harassment at work.

Don’t get me wrong. Sexual harassment deservedly gets a lot of attention in personnel policy booklets and on posters on company walls. But, equally, we should not ignore sexual harassment in the form of inappropriate dress for the work environment. Boy or girl.

Many companies have a casual dress code. But please, casual dress does not mean dress-down or half-dressed. Dress appropriately and you will be treated appropriately by your superiors, by your colleagues and even by your customers.

Yes, this also applies when you’re working from home.

Welcome to my side of the nonsense divide.