It’s a well-know fact that compulsory programs (CP) originated in ancient times when God felt offended at seeing His people worshiping other gods. “Hand me a couple of thunderbolts, will you?” He said to His Angel of Communications and Human Resources. “Oh, God!” said the Angel. “That’s so Old Testament! The goal is to improve their performance and engage them in transformational pathways to catalyze growth.”
“You mean make them go to church?” asked God.
“Kee-rect!” said the Angel. “Sitting through meetings inspires team cohesion and promotes productivity. At the very least, they’ll learn how to sleep with their eyes open.”
CP flourished for centuries until the Spanish Inquisition, when thousands of heretics decided they’d rather be burned at the stake than endure another of Torquemada’s PowerPoint presentations.
CP was revived in China, which created the modern-day model:
Since no one in a free society would dream of tolerating such blatant propagandizing and indoctrination, CP had to be re-labeled for export as “treatment” or “therapy.” And since CP was so good for addicts, the mentally ill and criminals, it was but a short step to require it for everyone. CP slithered into the workplace as “mandatory training.”
Last week all employees were ordered to log onto our outfit’s creepily named “Learning Management System.” Starting with the disclaimer, “this is not legal advice,” the video promised to instruct us about what behavior constitutes Sexual Harassment, how to report it and the legal consequences of not reporting it. Good thing our learning is managed or we might have thought that was legal advice.
After a perky song and dance about the variety of genders to choose from, the video gives the classic story of the vulnerable working woman threatened by the boss unless she yields to his sexual advances. We were duly stirred to indignation, ready to grab a pitchfork and stamp out sexual harassment wherever it rears its ugly head.
But the rest of the stories were like – a guy whose supervisor put her hand on his knee while sitting next to him in a bar, making him “uncomfortable.” The poor fellow couldn’t think of any way out, such as standing up to order another drink or going to the gents. “I was afraid she’d write a bad report,” he explains. “And I really needed a raise.”
And that’s supposed to be the same thing?
You might imagine that a film like this would overlook wrongful accusations. Perish the thought. We hear about a woman who reports a fellow employee for saying, “Your new haircut looks nice.” THAT’S NOT SEXUAL HARASSMENT concedes the voiceover. But the boss was very wrong to move the complainer away from the offending complimenter. So long as a person believes she was sexually harassed, it’s RETALIATION to do anything that might chill her from filing complaints.
Also very wrong is for men to avoid being alone with women for fear of harassment accusations. That’s discrimination, explains the Voice. If you don’t want to be accused of sexual harassment, DON’T HARASS. This reminded us of similar advice from former NYPD Commissioner Bratton: if you don’t want to get choked to death by the police, DON’T RESIST.
Bottom line: your boss is forbidden to tell you how to wear your hair or how to dress. She can only tell you what to think.