Watch what you say. You hear that advice, but how many of us really follow it? Too many people are still saying things they shouldn’t. In a recent report, the San Antonio Express news reports that a former head of the Department of Public Safety resigned due to alleged harassment of female subordinates.
I served in the Texas National Guard for many years. I would sometimes provide our annual EEO briefing. I urged my fellow Guard members to watch what they say. The only safe joke these days, I told them, is a good Aggie joke. Many did not believe me, I know. But, inappropriate comments still go on. Still to this day, 15 years later, men say inappropriate things to women. In this article, the women, all successful in various walks of life, explain that they overlook the inappropriate remark depending on the age of the speaker or the context. Many victims of discrimination do indeed try to overlook the early stages of discrimination or the less threatening forms of discrimination. But, then the discrimination becomes more clear and those earlier comments take on greater importance.
I am a lawyer. My job is to minimize risk. So, you supervisors out there, or soon-to-be-managers out there, watch what you say. As a lawyer representing victims of discrimination, my best evidence is what you say…..