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Is this harassment?

I had an encounter last week that left me speechless.  I ran out to Taco Bell and brought it back to the office.  This conversation ensued with two HR Ladies that work in my hall:

HR Lady1:  You're supposed to bring us Taco Bell when you go!
HR Lady2:  I'm pregnant, so I need Taco Bell!
Me:  Ha ha.  What do you normally get?
HR Lady2:  Chicken soft tacos.
Me:  I like Meximelts.
HR Lady1:  I like sour cream.
HR Lady2:  Don't take this the wrong way, but you have a hairy chest.
Me:  *uncomfortable laugh*  *motion to button top button of shirt*
HR Lady1:  Ha ha.  How's he supposed to take that?
HR Lady2:  I bet your wife was like "whoa!" on your wedding night! *with 'crazy hand' gestures*
Me:  *exit stage left*

I'm still rather flabbergasted.  I'm not sure whether she was saying she was attracted to me, or she was unattracted, or indifferent, but regardless, it made me very uncomfortable.  My wife was upset, and wants me to point her out so she can kick her ass. 

To add even more to this, she is very high up in the HR dept.  Were I to speak to her supervisor, I'd be talking to the VP of HR. 

Any suggestions how I handle this?  Should I avoid polo shirts?  Let it roll of my back altogether?  Talk to her boss?  Talk to my boss (I don't want to seem like a whiner)? 

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

How about shaving your chest?

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

Doesn't sound like a big deal to me.


Monday, March 08, 2004

yawn

Anon
Monday, March 08, 2004

If I had said, "Don't take this the wrong way, but you have a flat chest.  I bet your husband was like, 'aw, crap!' on your wedding night" - would that be a big deal? 

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

do nothing. next time she says something like this, ask her about HER hairy chest. and her hairy legs.

.
Monday, March 08, 2004

No, that would not be a big deal.  It would be an insensitive person being insensitive.  This is not harassment.  Harassment must be ongoing.

As for sexual harassment, it must be either a threat involving the need to exchange sex for job security/advancement or a group of people creating an environment so hostile to a given gender that members of that gender cannot stand to work there.

Let it go.

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

Just be glad she didn't mention your hairy balls.

TJ Haeser
Monday, March 08, 2004

Inappropriate in some cases, but not harassment.

sensitive bald guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

You do have a hairy chest, don't you? So se was merely stating fact, right?
Would your wife have been equally upset if someone had noticed your bald spot?
And is her first response always to kick someones butt, or does she usually behave in a more civilised manner?

Erik
Monday, March 08, 2004

Dude.

You have attributes that some people goes NUTS over, and some people do not.

I hate it when people try to tip-toe around the 'sensitivity' issues to ask me about my deafness.  I just wish people are not afraid of asking questions.

It is people like you that causes those people to be so overtly sensitive about things that they are obviously not aware of.  I am more than happy to bring the issue of deafness out in the open so we can have a frank discussion on how that can affect the way I work compared to others. 

Hell, that woman mocked her own pregnancy and the stereotypes that comes with it ("I NEED TACO BELL!"  "I NEED PICKLES!"  et cetera)

Mock your own chest.  Lower your voice, unbutton the polo shirts all the way, and growls, "Yeah, I'm looking for Jane.  Know where she is?!"

It is one thing to be sensitive about things, it is another to be unreasonably sensitive to your own physical attributes.  If you don't like your hairy chest, SHAVE or WAX it!  Take control over your own attitude, and you will be happier.  And play along!  Women loves men who plays along on the verbal duels.

T.J.
Monday, March 08, 2004

My wife didn't like the idea of a woman in my office looking at my chest.  She's normally very clear-headed, but some things get her fired up.  :-)

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

Sounds like you might have a bigger harassment problem at home than at the office...

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 08, 2004

TJ,

I wasn't so much offended about her mentioning my chest.  I was mostly offended about her discussing my wedding night.  Is it unreasonable to expect some topics to not be discussed in a professional environment?

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

Whether or not it's harassment, it's inappropriate, especially from someone in HR. You should report it.

And you don't have to "sound like a whiner". You can say, "I wasn't really bothered by it, but the next guy might be, and I'd hate to see the company involved in a lawsuit over inappropriate behavior." HR people really respond to discussions of lawsuits.

Come to think about it, outside of payroll, their whole job is about avoiding lawsuits.

Zahid
Monday, March 08, 2004

> It is people like you that causes those people to be so overtly sensitive about things that they are obviously not aware of.  I am more than happy to bring the issue of deafness out in the open so we can have a frank discussion on how that can affect the way I work compared to others.

So I should sit down with the Director of Recruiting (HR Lady2) and discuss how my hairy chest affects the way I work compared to someone else that is bare-chested?  That's got to be one of the stupidest things I've ever heard.  Deafness is one thing, bringing up wedding-night activities entirely another.

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

Don't worry, leave it. She was just joking with you in a friendly manner.

RP
Monday, March 08, 2004


It would be very un-American of you not to sue!

Miffo
Monday, March 08, 2004

Yes, that is hairassment.

Any comment that leads to an uncomfortable working environment can be considered harassment.

Being in HR she should really know better. Guess she was really pissed about not getting that Taco Bell.

Clutch Cargo
Monday, March 08, 2004

If that's the worst you have to put up with at work, I say knuckle down and make sure you keep your good thang there dude.

BOTV
Monday, March 08, 2004

I really wish someone would bring and win a huge lawsuit over other people's hypersensitivity making for an impossible work environment.  With such case law on the books and the sexual harassment suits on the books I think all around the US HR directors' heads would explode.

For the OP and all the posters who say he should report it, if you worked for me and I could figure out a way to do it without getting sued, I'd fire all all of you.  Geez.  Work is stressful enough.  You can't even talk about "wedding night"?  Are you out of your minds?  This is totally ungraphic and kind of a humorously innocent reference to the idea that the OP's wife would have no idea how hairy his chest was until his wedding night.

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

"Any suggestions how I handle this?  Should I avoid polo shirts?  Let it roll of my back altogether?  Talk to her boss?  Talk to my boss (I don't want to seem like a whiner)? "

How come "talk to her and let her know that it upset me" wasn't on the list?

IMHO a major part of this nation's litigiousness is a loss of the ability to treat one another as peers and simply *talk* things out. (the other major part is that attorneys don't seem able to say "no" any more, coupled with a continuous stream of headlines about massive lawsuit settlements)

"Hey listen, the comment about my wedding night made me uncomfortable. I just wanted to let you know, okay?"

That simple. Done.

If she *keeps* doing it, *then* it can become a hostile work environment issue.

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 08, 2004

If you don't want to sound like a whiner, the best thing is not to whine.


Monday, March 08, 2004

OK - in this situation I would have probably shrugged it off as those ladies feeling comfortable talking to you outside the bounds of normal work topics.  But, take that same situation and reverse the sexes and you would have lawyers and SWAT guys parachuting on to the rooftop.

I knew a guy that almost lost his job over jokingly saying much tamer comments.  It was only after much intervention from his boss and written apologies that he got to keep it.  The HR person only had to get a whiff of harassment and was ready to have him hung out to dry.  Simple case of a double standard.

Reverso
Monday, March 08, 2004

Technically, when someone makes you uncomfortable like she has, it is sexual harassment. It would be the same thing if you commented on her flat chest or bubble butt or whatever...

I'd say find a good lawyer and sue her ass off!  I am not kidding.  Any smart woman would do the same if they were in your shoes. You might even go on TV as a bonus.

entell
Monday, March 08, 2004

> For the OP and all the posters who say he should report it, if you worked for me and I could figure out a way to do it without getting sued, I'd fire all all of you.  Geez.  Work is stressful enough.

I don't quite understand why I should be fired simply because in the face of an uncomfortable situation I smiled and walked away.  I haven't filed a lawsuit, I haven't reported anything, I haven't started gossip about this person being insensitive.  I merely wanted to get an idea if this is something that should even be addressed or just ignored.  And it's not the first time something like this happened, just the first time it came from such a high level in the HR department.  Aren't they supposed to be super sensitive about this kind of stuff? 

I know I'd be rebuked, if not fired, if I said something like this to any woman I worked with.

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

I'm with Philo on this one I think.  If her saying that made you feel uncomfortable, I don't see how suing her will make you feel comfortable again.  I'd say ask her what she meant by it and talk it over with her.  It probably turns out that she thought you'd be comfortable with her saying that, and maybe during the conversation you can re-appraise her.  Once you understand each other the problem is solved.  And it will have only taken 10 minutes.  I don't see why anyone should sue anyone, it seems like madness.

Just two humans and a misunderstanding.

Konrad
Monday, March 08, 2004

"Technically, when someone makes you uncomfortable like she has, it is sexual harassment."

This is the result of knee-jerk reacting and grabbing a baseball bat to avoid doing something that's uncomfortable.

Originally, "sexual harassment" was purely about you boss or prospective employer demanding sexual favors in exchange for the job, or not firing you, or a promotion. It was abuse of power.

If your boss was constantly telling crude jokes, commenting on your physical attributes, allowing coworkers to do the same, etc - that was "creating a hostile work environment."

The former case should always be immediately actionable. The latter should require at least a minimal attempt at intervention (letting the people know you don't like it, unless it's truly aggregious)

Today, because it's awkward to actually confront a person and talk to them, and it's easier to just send an email to their boss or hire an attorney, it's all been lumped into "sexual harassment" and even alluding to something sexual is enough to bring that house of bricks (note: not a brick house... oh, that's it, I'm dead) down on your head. ("down" and "head" in the same sentence? I'm done for!)

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 08, 2004

IMHO the hairy chest comment was stupid but unimportant, and the wedding night comment was extremely inappropriate.  It probably was harassment, but if this is the way someone from HR behaves, you may have trouble finding someone to listen.  I like the suggestion someone made above of approaching it as "_I'm_ not that upset, but the next guy might sue".

But perhaps you should cut her a little slack.  My experience as the husband of a currently-pregnant woman is that they can get loopy, cranky, and who knows what else because of all the hormones.

I'd write down what occurred along with time and date, and hold on to it in case a one-time occurrence becomes a pattern.

Kyralessa
Monday, March 08, 2004

Philo,

I thought I had included talking to her as an option.  It was an oversight on my part to leave it off. 

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

I'm with Philo:

"IMHO a major part of this nation's litigiousness is a loss of the ability to treat one another as peers and simply *talk* things out. (the other major part is that attorneys don't seem able to say "no" any more, coupled with a continuous stream of headlines about massive lawsuit settlements)

"Hey listen, the comment about my wedding night made me uncomfortable. I just wanted to let you know, okay?"

That simple. Done. "

Don't make a big deal out of it.  You just want to make her aware that what she did made you uncomfortable.  As to her response -- she may blow you off or become defensive or respond in some other negative fashion.  Be prepared for that (my suggestion: end the conversation and leave).  But also be prepared for a positive response -- an apology, or at least recognition of your feelings on the incident.

Should be working
Monday, March 08, 2004

> But perhaps you should cut her a little slack.  My
> experience as the husband of a currently-pregnant
> woman is that they can get loopy, cranky, and who
> knows what else because of all the hormones.

Being pregnant is not an easy thing but it is no excuse to make life miserable for coworkers, friends and strangers either. You need to be very good friends before you can crap on people like that.

If this was the case, then the HR lady owes the hairy dude an apology in the least.

entell
Monday, March 08, 2004

Physical conditions can profoundly affect one's mood.  I'm acquainted with a girl who was engaged to a guy who was rude, abrasive, and generally obnoxious all the time.  Who knows what she saw in him; the girl's mother couldn't stand him.

Then they discovered he had a brain tumor.  He was operated on, they removed it, and he turned out to be a really sweet guy.  He even went to the girl's mother (now his mother-in-law) and apologized for his previous obnoxiousness.

And as someone who has allergies to just about everything, I know all too well how physical symptoms can affect the way you relate to others.  (Not that anybody where I work cuts _me_ any slack over that...hmmmm, yeah, on second thought, maybe you should sue.)

Kyralessa
Monday, March 08, 2004

That's a really important fact we're missing here: is she hot?

It is physically impossible for an attractive woman to sexually harress a man.

Mr Jack
Monday, March 08, 2004

Man, why did you tell your wife this?

You sound like you are completely dominated by your wife.

C'mon! Handle some situations on your own, damn it!


A man's hairy chest is, in my opinion, macho. Yes, I'm hairy chested, too.

Look, for example, at Sean Connery. He's a sex symbol even at his own age, and has a very hairy chest.

Look at the actors that played James Bond before Brosnan. All of them had hairy chests.

In many languages derived from Latin, the word "man" has the same root as the word for "facial hair".


Learn to tell people unpleasant things, and how to offend people, and how to make other people unconfortable.

Don't do it - just learn how to do it.

You can see some examples in movies and all around you.

For example, for women, look for physical defects, and if you want to make that woman feel bad, mention those defects. For a man, look for signs that he is a loser, and under-achiever, etc.

Try to find every person's weak spot.

After very little training, you will learn to find weak spots in most people. A bit of intuition helps you in this.

Once you know that you can make almost any man or woman feel bad by telling something bad to them, you will be a lot more relaxed.

You will feel like you have a weapon always with you.

I don't advocate making people around you feel bad.

However, I think that you should have the ability - know what words to say so you can make almost anyone feel bad.

Once you know this, you will be able to wage war with the ocasional bastard who makes you feel bad.

Viper Rage
Monday, March 08, 2004

Well, sounds like she thinks you're hot, dude! :-) Could you give me her numba, pleaz?

I have a very hairy sensitive chest too...

Vlad Gudim
Monday, March 08, 2004

>It is physically impossible for an attractive woman to sexually harress a man.

Tell me, do your knuckles get raw dragging on the ground like that all the time?

Evan Wired
Monday, March 08, 2004

I want that HR lady's number too. I also have a hairy chest and hairy balls.

When Hairy Met Sally (from HR)
Monday, March 08, 2004

Is it possible to harvest chest hair in the event of hair loss?

Li-fan Chen
Monday, March 08, 2004

I'm surprised at the reactions to this guy's post.

The comments clearly overstep the line, referring to the guy in a sexual and demeaning way, and to his private life. His wife understands this.

If a male commented on a girl's breasts and how she went on her wedding night, he would get sacked.

I presume you don't have some sort of union rep? You definitely need to write this down and formalise a complaint. That sort of behaviour is unwarranted and unacceptable.


Monday, March 08, 2004

She's just plain stupid. There's no law against it, AFAIK.

Pakter
Monday, March 08, 2004

I feel certain this thread is about to get deleted but anyway-  It's not that I think you should be fired for having your chest hair commented on, I just don't like working with people like you or the posters who take it to a more extreme level and say get a lawyer or similar nonsense.

Sometimes I feel like I am living in a world of lunatics.  People think you should sue or talk to a union rep because the topic of "wedding night" is raised?  That's bizarre enough.  The amazing thing to me is that the people who feel that way think that we who thionk it's okay can't be serious.

We can and we are.  Many people like to have a friendly environment at work and this kind of playful banter is perfectly acceptible among friends.

I wish there were a way to divide companies such that people like you only had to work with people like you and people like me only had to work with people like me.  There'd probably be a lot less suing until you realized the rest of us were having too much fun and you sue to get included at which point you would begin to sue to make the fun less bawdy.

Arghhhh!!

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

"Sometimes I feel like I am living in a world of lunatics.  People think you should sue or talk to a union rep because the topic of 'wedding night' is raised?"

"Wedding night", in the context given, is a euphemism for "first time the two of you had sex."  If she'd said it without the euphemism, would it have been appropriate?

"I wish there were a way to divide companies such that people like you only had to work with people like you and people like me only had to work with people like me."

Sounds like a good plan to me.  I'd rather work* than deal with unwanted attention of the sort described.  If bawdy jokes are more interesting to you than working, then we wouldn't fit well on the same team.


* notwithstanding that I'm spending time posting here

Kyralessa
Monday, March 08, 2004

name withheld,

I never said I was going to sue anyone.  I never had any intentions to do so, nor do I have them now.

Banter between friends is one thing.  Professional conversation between professionals is another.  This person isn't my "friend."  She is a co-worker.  She has never been to my house on a social occasion.  She holds a very high position in this company, and should act accordingly.

a hairy-chested, yet still sensitive guy
Monday, March 08, 2004

">It is physically impossible for an attractive woman to sexually harress a man.

Tell me, do your knuckles get raw dragging on the ground like that all the time? "

The poster might have put it a bit bluntly but the "inequality" in this respect is important. Pretending otherwise seems extremely dogheaded to me.
To be honest when I read the OP I was thinking this was going to be a troll for the "but if it where the other way round" argument.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 08, 2004

I have worked in HR for the greater part of a decade and I am surprised at the inappropriate behavioir coming from a fellow HR person.  She should know better than anyone at the company what is allowable and what is touchy and therefore should be avoided.  In a world where even tapping a person on the arm could be taken the wrong way, it was a gross mistake to comment on a coworker's chest hair which is a much more obvious taboo.  I would be offended (as would the average american) if out of the blue - some office coworker commented on my chest.  Particularly if this person (as hairy guy confirmed) is not my friend.  This man is justified in not wanting  to be made selfconscious of his hairy chest or for people to openly speculate how his wife was on their wedding night.  Now get back to work people.


Monday, March 08, 2004

I didn't mean to imply that you were going to sue.  I was reacting to the numerous replies which recommended that you sue.  Fine, you didn't like the comment.  She probably didn't realize you wouldn't like it.  My point is that I can't believe that you would post a question asking if this is "harassment" and that a large number of people would reply that, yes it is harassment and you need to take action.

The person who claims we live in a world in which a person could be offended by arm tapping just kind of accepts it.  We live in a world of people so nutty that you could get fired for tapping someone on the arm.  This attitude is outrageous.  We have taken a perfectly sensible idea (it is wrong to force someone to have sex with you in order to get a promotion) and evolved it into an entirely nutty one (The most sensitive person in the organization gets to decide what is innappropriate).

As for Kyalessa,  I didn't say I preferred bawdy jokes to getting work done.  I merely implied that having an employee like you, around whom one must walk on eggshells for fear of saying the wrong thing, I would prefer employees who foster a comfortable work environment.  And you would reply that bawdy jokes make you uncomfortable.  Fine, I understand that, but why don't you see that taking offense at the slightest provacation makes the rest of us uncomfortable?

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

I know this probably bothered you, and the same sort of thing would probably have bothered me. But unless we all become politically correct drones people are going to say things, attempt humour, that offends rather then amuse.
Look at it in light of where it comes from. Comments about womens chests etc are offensive because they come from a power play type of situation in which the women is essential put low and treated as a sexually object nothing more.
I think you coworkers were more then likely just having a joke and expecting you to join in.
Sure it bothered you, but please don't pretend that this was harrasement, if you have ever had a boss grope your ass and anything you say just gets laughed off, even your crankiest self gets laughed off, well that is harrasement (and time to leave your job!!).
In real life you are going to be offended, take it with a pinch of salt, were they trying to offend you, or just having a joke about taco bell and got carried off on a tangent? Being offended is okay, and wanting to respond to them is okay. But sounds like you are on a level playing field (please don't quote that she is high up, that is not enough to unlevel the playing field), say something to her, but don't get riled up over sexual harrasement or it will just be another notch that brings us closer to a sad sad world where we are too offended to talk lest we get sued.

Aussie Chick
Monday, March 08, 2004

My dear fellow, if police could search any house they wanted, any time they wanted, then none of us would have privacy.  But if they could never search any house anytime, then they'd never catch drug dealers.

It's all about BALANCE.  Occasionally the police will get out of control on searches, and then a judge may go and let off an obvious felon on a technicality; but judges do that to protect the privacy rights of the majority.

Likewise, occasionally an innocent, stupid joke or remark may get someone in hot water.  But if it's a choice between humiliating the oaf who made the stupid remark or humiliating the person ostensibly embarrassed by it, I'd rather err on the side of humiliating the oaf, in order to discourage oafitude, rather than humiliate the person reporting it by questioning whether it ought to have been reported, and thereby discouraging reporting of sexual harassment.

Kyralessa
Monday, March 08, 2004

>If a male commented on a girl's breasts and how she went on her wedding night, he would get sacked.

Can we lose this analogy it is very bad. You are comparing hair on a mens chest, which yes is quote reasonable to talk about in mixed company, with a women's breasts. I am sorry but there is no comparison, they were talking about hairs not your penis. big difference. (pardon the pun, it was unintended, yet strangely fitting for this topic on offensivenss and harrasement, beit intended of not)

Aussie Chick
Monday, March 08, 2004

The drug dealing analogy makes no sense.

As for balance, if the issue were balancing the needs of the oaf versus the needs of the easily offended I would be fine with letting HR handle it.  The probelm is that we can't have companies that choose to balance things in favor of the oaf (because of lawsuits).  If companies could choose between favoring oafs and favoring the hypersensitive we would have a nice competitive situation and normal people (neither overly oafish nor overly sensitive) could decide which environment they prefer.

The current situation removes this choice.

name withheld out of cowardice
Monday, March 08, 2004

Aussie Chic, please don't tell me what I find offensive.

If a female co-worker commented on the appearance of my chest at work in the context of what my wife thought about it and what my wedding night was like, I would consider it highly inappropriate.


Monday, March 08, 2004

I can't believe this board is so full of pansy-assed men that get upset when someone mentions hair.

Oh wait, I'm on the software board, I guess I can believe it.


Monday, March 08, 2004

That is just my point.
You are offended by this, but that doesn't mean it is sexual harrasment, or that anyone else would find it offensive.
You are well within your rights to be offended by it.
What it means is that this is a real world and people say offensive things from time to time, and I would prefer it this way then having to tip toe on eggshells. Unless there are huge power plays going on that you haven't mentioned, I hardly see how this consitutes 'harrasment', it was a joke that unintentionally offended you. Go tell her. Tell your wife and you can both have a laugh and be cranky (this is okay). But lets not get too hig strung about it. This is all I mean.

Aussie Chick
Monday, March 08, 2004

Everyone is missing one little detail. Why did this HR woman assume that the wedding night was the first time the hairy dude's wife saw his chest?  :P

entell
Monday, March 08, 2004

Did she think the hair was gross?

If so, I would be offended.

If she thought it was sexy, then it's just another chic wantin' a piece of my action.


Monday, March 08, 2004

I have female friends that share some of the filthiest jokes imaginable with me. I have male friends that don't want to hear the word "breasts." I maintain friendships with all these people. Not by living to the safest common denominator, but by talking to them, paying attention to them, getting to know them.

WE ARE NOT ROBOTS.

Human relationships should be about camaraderie and compromise - get to really know the people you deal with, and treat them according to their sensibilities. It's really not that hard, but it does take a little more effort than parading around demanding that the world approach you on your own terms.

If OP was offended (or his wife was), then he can go back to the person who commented and have a friendly talk about it. End of discussion. If the person who commented wants to build a relationship with OP, then they'll refrain from such comments in the future. If that requires more restraint than they care to exercise in their personal relationships, they'll restrict their interactions with him to business and keep it professional.

But the initial event shouldn't be shocking or ghastly or horrific - it's just another event in people interacting. People who indicate that "tapping someone on the arm" is in any way unacceptable are asking for 1984, or THX 1138, or Equilibrium - nothing but emotionless monotones for communication.

(Of note - I have a really close, prim and proper friend who on occasion forwards me racy stuff with a note 'this isn't really my style, but I know you'll appreciate it' - it works both ways. ;-) )

Philo

Philo
Monday, March 08, 2004

Talk to a good advisor first. Like a lawyer. Before you
say anything to either #1 or #2. They can both make
your life hell if they want to, they are high up AND in
hr, so they prepare the downsizing lists etc.
Keep a record of these events, if they ever recurr.

Since their innuendo clearly creates an
"uncomfortable working environment", it clearly IS
harassment by law. So your options are to forget it,
or sue.

Only if you think these ladies are EXTREMELY trustworthy,
would you tell them to knock it off. Otherwise, you're
just giving them warning "Here comes a lawsuit, let's
set this guy up so the lawsuit doesn't look credible".
Then - bad reviews and dishonourable discharge, to
make you look bad in case you ever went to court.

If it were me I wouldn't sue, because I don't like to be
in such a sensitive workplace and because it will make
you look bad to some potential employers (you will be
finished at that company, methinks).

What does your wife think to be the correct course
of action?

That hr behaviour sucks
Monday, March 08, 2004

I once worked at a place where they sponsered (is that the right word?) sexual harrassment seminar for all employees.  I was expecting a politically correct, "dont offend anybody - offending is in the eye of the beholder" type message.  But it turned out to be more of a legalistic definition of what it is and is not.  His first comments, to my shock were, Anita Hill's testimony to congress, even if true, would not rise to the level of sexual harrassment.

"name held without cowardice" stated it best - sexual harassment must be a threat involving the need to exchange sex for job security/advancement, or a group of people creating an environment so hostile to a given gender that members of that gender cannot stand to work there."

The answer to your question, "Harry chested, yet still sensitive guy", is no, it is now harrassment.  Now if ask them to stop and they continue to do so, than you might have a case.

josReader
Monday, March 08, 2004

I have a hairy chest,  half-bald head, thick glasses, bad teeth, a face that has been thoroughly damaged by years of acne, and a few other assorted classes of ugliness.  And people do occasionally make a derogatory comment.

The companies that I have worked for have not had any policy on this kind of unpleasantness, but it has not been a problem.  Maybe I have been lucky, but the people I work with are not usually the sort that make comments about other people's appearance.

If I were the target of a comment like this, I am not sure what I would do.  Probably ignore a single instance, but it would depend on what the policies of the company and attitude of management.  Even if it does not meet a legal definition of harassment, any company that wants a good working environment would discourage this.

Maybe we are getting a bit oversensitive.  OTOH, how could it really be appropriate to ever make any derogatory comments about someones appearance in the workplace.


....Well, I do recall a couple of people being told they smell bad and they should take a bath.  So, maybe there are some instances where people should be told about their problem.

C
Monday, March 08, 2004

1. She was being friendly.
2. Her comment was funny. An appropriate response would have been, "Amazing! How did you know?"
3. Her context of 'wedding night' was in the sense that that was (presumably, assuming you had honorably preserved your wife's virginity before marriage) the first time your wife had a chance to see your chest. It had nothing to do with sexual performance. There is nothing here to feel insecure about.
4. Suing is out of the question. You'll lose and make a bad situation for yourself. Suing is intense. Make sure it's for something that is really worth it.
5. Don't tell her it made you feel uncomfortable unless you want to come across as a wuss.
6. Don't be getting your wife involved in these sorts of things.

Dennis Atkins
Monday, March 08, 2004

Well said Philo

Aussie Chick
Monday, March 08, 2004

Hairy,

Get one of those tiny hidden camera's and hide it in your chest.  Or wear a wire on your chest and record another incident.  You'll need some hard cold evidence if you want to press for harrassment.

Cletus
Monday, March 08, 2004

"Can we lose this analogy it is very bad."
"But lets not get too hig strung about it. This is all I mean."

AussieChick,

We can always count on the ladies bringing in the ol' double standard.  If you breathe wrong around ladies in today's workplace they are all up in arms about how they are being discriminated against.  If a lady says someting offensive to a man, then he's a wimp for complaining.  If a man say's something offensive to a woman, then damn the torpedos, bring in the crisis counselors, let's sit everyone down for hours of sexual harrassment videos...

NeuteredMale
Monday, March 08, 2004

Ouch, that was very unfair, please don't be so quick too judge me.

That wasn't a double standard at all. I was saying that Womens breasts is more comparable to a Man's penis then to a hairy chest. Or in another form, perhaps commenting on a man's hairy chest is like commenting on a woman's hairy legs/underarm/back/upperlip.

I completely understand that the original poster was offended, and I believe he has every right to take offense. But just because he has taken offense does not mean that it was harrasement, or even that it was a wrong comment on the ladies part. It was just a clash of personalities.

However, in line with the fact that we fact that we live in a real world, and the only way we can police our actions is by 'standards', I think in todays standards deem it okay to put a man's hairy chest on prime time tv, but the women's breast would still not be okay. So by todays standards the two are really not equal.

I understand that it would be difficult from a male point of view to have to put up with so much 'womens lib' and 'double standards', and I agree that alot of things that either are, or at least appear to be double standards, exist.
However you must remember that men and women can be equal, but they are never the same. The undisputable fact is that men and women are very different, both physically and emotionally.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I guess I think the double standard is expecting everyone to behave in the exact same manner, in a non-orwellian society.

Fact is girls where skirts and guys like pants.
Girls get turned on my big strong muscels, guys like big boobs.
girls wear makeup, guys shave.
girls shave there legs, guys don't.

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

It's interesting how extremist each side of this discussion thinks the other side is.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Before I turned into a half bold, bad tempered moaning old
dirty bastard, I had a few similar experiences.
Although uncomfartable when it happened
I felt good afterwards.

Further I would advice you to read the book of
Mr F.B. Bakels on his experiences in Natzweiler
concentration camp. This will change your life and you
will get a new view about what a perverted spoilt whiners we all have become.
We are talking about sueing about a few remarks.
This can't be real I'm dreaming..

kind regards
John Fisher

John Fisher
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I suppose, it would be just much more logical and natural to compare a man's hairy chest directly to a woman's equally hairy breast, than to any other parts of her body. With one little exception that naturally hairy breasts are much less common amongst women, that's probably why women think about this part of the body being hairy as "good and sexy" and men, generally, as "not very exciting".

Having said all of the above you shouldn't be offended - it really was a compliment specially during the informal conversation, but if you'd had made the same remark in her address it'd be a harassment.

Take it easy, have a laugh and be proud of your masculinity.

Vlad Gudim
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I'd like to see some of the wimpy folk cope with an all female production line in a factory...

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I think it is only fair that since they pass comments on your chest, you pass comment on theirs.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Man, I am SO happy I am not working with any of you folks who suggest strong actions such as suing, discussing with lawyers, and so on forth.

Sheesh. 

Why be grumpy?  PLAY!

After all, this is your ONLY life.  Maybe you will be reincarinated, or your soul will be sent to some fantastic place afterward... but as of right now, there is only ONE game:  This life.

PLAY!

If anyone try to rain on your parade, shrug it off and PLAY ON!

As long as it is within reasonable boundaries, and you respect each other, PLAY ON!

T.J.
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Yep, and I'm equally happy not to be working with those of you who took the position "can't you take a joke?"

It's perfectly reasonable not to like it if someone talks to you like that. It might also be reasonable to like it, but the OP didn't like it, so that's moot.

Fortunately, the first recommended response to this sort of thing is:

"Ask the harasser to stop"

Notice that the first recommended step is "go directly to court, do not pass go, do not collect $200". Which is just as well because that's not what the OP wanted to do anyway.

So if she says anything like this again, and it bothers you, all you have to do do is say, "please don't talk to me like that".

If she escalates, then you escalate.

Until then, you're not required to enjoy being spoken to in ways you hate, and you're also not required to turn a minor upset into an international legal test case. Despite what many posters have suggested, it actually is possible for grownups to resolve a conflict like grownups instead of like tenth graders.

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Should have read

'the first recommended step is not "go to court [...]"'

Fernanda Stickpot
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Go run to a lawyer like the little titty-baby you are.

He will laugh at you too.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Sorry. My wife was a victim of sexual harassment. People like you really discount true sexual harassment.


Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Learn all the necessary skills at http://www.fastseduction.com/

_
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Didn't John Fisher end this thread by invoking (indirectly I admit) Nazis?  Someone pointed out to me that this is someone's law about internet threads- eventually someone invokes Hitler or Nazis and that means the thread is basically over?

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I don't think it was Nazis per se; I think, rather, that he ended the thread through the zero-sum-game fallacy.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

" However, in line with the fact that we fact that we live in a real world, and the only way we can police our actions is by 'standards',"

How about this one: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

That would have eliminated this whole problem.

Do Australian parents try to teach this to their children?

C
Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I am guessing you are asking me this, which is again rather pointed.

Yes, Australian parents teach this to there children, as do American parents I would imagine.

Somehow this thread as gone from "is this harrasment" to women's lib, now knocking aussies?

For the record I have never said anything predominantly australian (other then the underlying "she'll be right" attitude). Neither have I argued any women's lib type issue.

I have however maintained the original poster has a right to be offended, but this does not mean it is harrasment.

Aussie Chick
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Seesh. I might sue you all for the psychic distress of reading your 'someone forgot to warm my milk and honey' whining every morning. You have made me addicted.

If you are suffering insurmountable life-stress because someone mentioned your chest hair, you are living in an ivory tower. Anyone who thinks this is worth suing over is living in an ivory tower. This thread is now Trolls v Crudulous Whingers.

Since it is currently not possible to experience the life of another person (i.e. spend a week in the mind and body of a woman experiencing real harassment), I suggest you all quit your jobs and go work  in a refugee camp or teach in a school in the developing world. Then you'll see what a mollycoddled life you lead.

BOTV
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?  What a stupid platitude!  How irrelevant to the OPs question!  Why are people in Australia teaching their children this crap?  While we're bashing Australia, what is the deal with those kangaroos?  What kind of an animal is that?  Don't even get me started on wombats!

BTW Aussie Chick, nice use of the archaic phrase "women's lib".  I haven't heard that in a while.  Twenty-three skidoo!

name withheld out of cowardice
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

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