A reader, Tony Vogele, in response to our post about sexual banter leading (or not leading) to sexual harassment, said that “The best rule is probably, ‘don’t say anything in the workplace you wouldn’t say to your mother or first grade teacher.’ While it might sound overly strict, the cost-benefit analysis says it doesn’t pay to engage in sexual banter.”
This engendered a number of comments – virtually all supportive of Tony’s advice.
Arthur Ehrlich, a Chicago employment lawyer uttered the words that make up the title of this post.
Sally Brown, an investigator for the West Virginia Human Rights Commission said that “I always tell people not to say anything that they would not want to be quoted as saying on the front page of the New York Times.”
“I could not agree more,” noted Yvonne T. Zertuche, an HR Executive in the Houston area. “It is best to be conservative, rather than risk things moving in the wrong direction and then down a slippery slope!”
Ward Heinrichs, an employment attorney in San Diego said that “Your rule is a sound one.” He added that “I am surprised at how often people violate it. We see examples of it all the time. Another way of stating your rule is: keep your workplace environment professional.”
Sameera Jade Daniels, an international affairs professional in Washington, DC commented: “Richard, do you think that a less restrictive interpretation of the regression toward the mean may apply? Just a hunch. I would have to look at the sexual harassment statistics more closely.
Anyway, I believe that David Brook’s “Bobos In Paradise” analyzes elite circles at least. There seems to be a fair amount of uninhibited chatter. After all gossip is pretty typical too, with some lewd jokes here and there about an attractive woman.
But you would be right that one shouldn’t engage in ‘sexual banter’ in the workplace, although some people carry on regardless, after hours.”