JUL 2018

DAYSPA is the business resource for spa & wellness professionals! Each issue covers the latest in skin care, spa treatments, wellness services and management strategies.

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[ 60 ] • # dayspamagazine • july 2018 Although questions like "Am I not allowed to compliment people anymore?" may make many women want to put their fi st through a wall (or a man), activists point out that the conversations that arise from such questions are important and necessary. The fact is that overcoming the scourge of sexual harassment is going to require exceptional amounts of patience, communication and cooperation on all sides. There are nuances involved, and perhaps a lot more unintentional line-crossing than we all realize. Consider the following scenario: The setting is the break room of a large spa. Alicia, a massage therapist, is at the vending machine getting a snack when Allan, a spa administrator, enters. He immediately notices that Alicia is wearing new yoga pants, and that they're fl attering to her fi gure. "Alicia looks hot in those pants," he thinks, and immediately blurts out, "Nice yoga pants, are they new?" Alicia fi nishes getting her snack, turns around to see Allan staring at her pants/legs, takes a deep breath, says "Yes, thanks," and quickly leaves the breakroom. She walks directly into the spa director's offi ce to share what just happened and discuss what a "creeper" Allan is. The director had heard about similar exchanges between Allan and other female colleagues; she decides to bring up the matter with HR, and Allan ends up receiving a serious reprimand and a black mark on his record. "All I did was compliment her pants!" he objects. "And anyway, if she was offended, why didn't she just tell me?" The HR person replies, "Maybe she was uncomfortable. You do have seniority. Besides, was it really her pants you were complimenting?" Now, Allan is a decent person, but he has spent most of his life surrounded by other guys who would never think twice about complimenting a woman's "pants." He has never been challenged this way before and this last comment has given him pause. It was true: He wasn't really commenting on Alicia's pants. And Alicia knew it. Still, do such compliments constitute harassment? "I honestly don't understand," admits Allan. "I didn't threaten Alicia or touch her or even insult her! It just seems like giving someone a compliment should be within my rights as person." "What about Alicia's right to get a snack from the vending machine at work without being openly appraised and made to feel the object of someone's sexual desire?" replies the HR rep. "Which right do you think should outweigh the other?" For some people, fi nding and staying within areas of interaction that are both natural and respectful is going to be a daily challenge. And although they may bruise a few egos, conversations like the one above are crucial if we're going to truly progress and learn how to treat each other like equals. legal pad The EEOC tells us what sexual harassment is and what it isn't: "Simple teasing, off hand comments or isolated incidents that are not very serious" do not qualify as sexual harassment according to the EEOC. Assessing this requires an exercise in judgment. In the workplace, when certain behaviors become so pervasive, frequent and severe that it creates what the law would consider a hostile work environment, then the behavior is illegal and action must be taken. Workplace pecking order has no bearing on whether someone can be considered a harasser or victim, although obviously it is much more intimidating for a harassed person to take action when the individual committing the violation is their superior. Moreover, businesses can end up in hot water with the EEOC whether the accused harasser is a worker, owner, client, vendor or the person who services the water dispenser. And the object of the harassment doesn't even need to be an employee: Job applicants can also be harassed. © GETTY IMAGES The Safety Zone A m I n t p eo p le ny fi s t , e e d , ng d er the k Now, Al but he has surroun de w ou l d n com p "p a n c h a n h I r A k c h a do n A ll an or touc It j ust see m a compl i m e r i gh ts as p "Wh

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