Editor’s Note: My thanks to Alicia Arenas for sharing with me the story that inspired this post.
A week or so ago, I published a post about anti-harassment training. If you haven’t taken a look at the comments, there were some interesting responses about the overall value of anti-harassment training. I wasn’t planning to write a follow-up but then Alicia sent me a link to a news story.
Since the Miami Heat aren’t in the NBA playoffs, I was totally oblivious to the fact that the San Antonio Spurs are playing the Dallas Mavericks. One night after a San Antonio win, sportscaster Mike Bacsik, makes an inappropriate remark on Twitter. It gets picked up by Peter Burns, a San Antonio sports-talk radio host. Bacsik gets suspended. CNN gets wind of the story. Bacsik gets fired.
The story reminded me of a situation I encountered in Corporate America. Got up one morning, futzing around the house, drinking my coffee, reading the newspaper (people did that back then)…when I read a story about alleged inappropriate conduct by one of my employees. Yep, one of my employees. In the newspaper.
Needless to say, my morning routine was cut a bit short. I flew into the office, met with the employee’s supervisor and eventually with the employee (who, long story short, resigned.)
That incident from several years ago made me realize a few things about anti-harassment training and investigations. For instance:
Conducting anti-harassment training gives the company a chance to say, “You are accountable for your own stupid behavior.” And companies need to make that statement.
Even if you are a superstar, rockstar, HiPo, whatever…if you make racially inappropriate comments or say sexually inappropriate remarks, you will pay the consequences. Most of the time it involves cleaning out your desk.
In today’s cyber-news world, you can’t outrun the media. Just can’t. If one of your employees makes the front page, you better have a plan in place to deal with it. Don’t make the assumption it can’t happen to you.
Now you might be saying to yourself – hey, it’s 2010 – don’t people know by now that discrimination and harassment are wrong?! Isn’t this common sense? Why do we need to spend time and money on training?
Good question. I ask myself that question too. Then, friends send me links to news stories involving people like Mike Bacsik. Or New York gubernatorial candidate Carl Paladino.
And, I read about the legislation that Arizona just passed along with the list of states calling for boycotts.
Unfortunately, there’s still a lot of work to be done.0