I am reprinting this article I wrote in response to the many questions received for a recent article entitled: Do You Think You’re Too Good To Work at A Fast Food Restaurant?
Some readers spoke of abuse toward young people and/or the young person not knowing their rights.
There’s also a whole section added to this post regarding your personal health and your rights.
So, please share this with them as a way of empowering young people. Thank You.
It’s 2021 people. So are we surprises that a guy making sexist or misogynist remarks to a fellow female employee thinks it’s okay to then get angry when called on it?
Um, yeah it should be a shocker. Dang. The #metoo didn’t die, but it’s evident there’s still a lot of work to do in learning what’s acceptable.
Someone recently shared her story of her toxic work environment where a male coworker would ask her if she was PMS’ing. Fed up with the harassment, she finally asked for a meeting and long story short, he quit.
Not everyone has the strength to stand up to the office jerks.
Young woman are still taught that it’s not okay to question authority or they should just turn the other cheek–but it’s not okay.
Harassment in any form needs to e recognized and shut down.
Many young men don’t realize they too can be a target of sexual or work place harassment or find themselves in situations where they may not know what to do.
Here’s Some Auntie Advice For Young People just Starting in the WorkForce.
It’s never okay for your boss (or coworker/manager/etc.) to touch you in any suggestive way.
A boss doesn’t ask you to come into the back office at the end of the day to rub his shoulders.
Nor does an employer make comments about your body, comment on your underwear, or whistle at the way you move.
It’s not okay for dirty/profane/sexist jokes be told in the workplace. This is not only tasteless and vulgar but also a form of harassment and ongoing ignorance. It can make many uncomfortable and not know how to react. Not okay.
It’s not acceptable for someone to ask you if you’re PMS’ing or on your period–or about your sex life, your preferences, or anything along that line. Nope. Nada. Not okay.
Nor is it all right for anyone to make reference (or fun of, or question) to your sexuality or gender identity. Whether gay, trans, or non-binary, it’s absolutely no one’s business.
Sex or sexual touching is never a requirement to stay employed
An adult saying they’re attracted to you (you’re 16 and he’s 40)…is not flattering, or sexy, or special—It’s predatory and ugly.
Go tell someone immediately.
And, that’s not only for girls.
Young men can also be the target of sexual harassment or unwanted touching. So all of the above also goes for penis jokes, dress, hair, etc. Not okay…I repeat..not okay.
If a boss or manager says you’ll be fired (or demoted) if you tell what happens…that’s illegal.
A manager/boss/employer doesn’t ask an employee to keep secrets and they don’t ask them to meet outside of the place of business alone to discuss matters. These are like traps where someone in authority can turn the blame away from themselves.
Nor is it okay to do sexual favors for a raise or a promotion.
Even if you’re twenty-one and your boss says he/she wants to take you for a drink to discuss a private matter…nope. Sorry.
If he wants to discuss anything it can be done in the office or wherever you work.
Now, you have to recognize that not all guys or bosses are predators and creeps. Many are good, hard working individuals. Remain professional and most of the time there’ll be no issue….trust your gut and if you have questions, ask.
You have the right to say no.
You don’t/shouldn’t have “private” matters to discuss with your boss. Your dealings are about the work, not a social (or romantic) adventure into adulthood. If you find yourself in a personal situation with a spouse or girlfriend and you need compassionate leave, then that’s one thing, but to discuss other personal issues of a sexual or flirtatious nature, are off limits.
Remember too that sexual harassment can go both ways. If you, as an employee are coming on to the boss or being inappropriate in dress, language, or overturns then you could be charged or rightfully dismissed.
A word about co-workers.
A peer group is a different thing than a boss. To go out for drinks or dinner with coworkers is often fun and really adds to the team building of a group.
The difference though between social and professional is a fine line. To begin to blur these lines can be dangerous and lead to trouble. Sometimes, personal feelings and/or indiscretions can spill into the workplace and be uncomfortable for others working there and/or you.
Remember, things like PDAs etc are not for the work place.
You’ve been warned. Listen carefully…
Dating a Co-Worker
If you’re going to date a co-worker you best know about the company rules regarding such behavior. You should be able to access the company Human Resources information online. Follow the protocol or risk your job.
Always, and I mean always, maintain a sense of decorum and self respect. Remember there are cameras everywhere….even when you can’t see them. If you can’t see them just imagine it in your head … assume your entire office (or workplace) is watching. Don’t be stupid.
I want you to go back and read that….
This is fair warning for you to be smart and professional. If you think no one knows what’s going on, you’re fooling yourself.
Verbal Abuse From a Co-Worker or Any other person in the Organization
Any type of abuse–verbal and/or physical– is harassment and is not only unacceptable but may be criminal. You should never feel scared to go to work.
If anything makes you feel uncomfortable or you question the validity of a request then talk to someone. Your parent, your auntie, a teacher, preacher… It doesn’t matter. Get another opinion and be honest with yourself.
The #MeToo movement isn’t dead. Its calmed and rebalanced itself over the last year but the awareness is still present.
It’s a reminder that no one is immune in the work place but complacency means that the next victim doesn’t stand a chance. Everyone continues to stand together in being vigilant so predators don’t ruin lives.
Having the discussion is better than ignoring it. Like the writer of Millennial Life Crisis, she kept notes, emails, and stayed professional.
Always take the high road.
A Question of Health and Well-Being. Is It In Your Control?
If you suffer from an issue like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohn’s or Colitis then you’ve probably had issues at work.
Having to deal with sudden diarrhea, gut pain, gas, or bleeding can be debilitating. Then need for facilities close by is paramount.
I know a young guy who suffers from colitis and had a hard time keeping a job. He is now in remission and doing well.
Check your local employment boards as far as your rights go, but it’s good too for you to know your limits and what’s in your control.
Sometimes it’s not only physical health but mental as well when dealing with such topics.
No manager or boss should make you feel lesser than when dealing with personal issues.
If you need to use the bathroom, for example, the manager/boss/employer needs to make all reasonable efforts to make that happen. They can not refuse.
You do not need to explain yourself, or your health.
If you suffer from heavy bleeding, menstrual cramps, UTIs, or anything else where you need to take frequent trips to the bathroom you can exercise your right to call in sick. You would probably not get paid. Make sure if you’re not going in that you call the boss. That is your responsibility. Don’t leave the employer in the lurch wondering where you are.
You don’t need to explain anything to your boss but they may request something from your doctor. Again, check out what’s best for you and what you want to do.
Your physical and mental health are number one. Don’t doubt that. Stay strong and seek advice from the employment agencies in your immediate area.