Valentine's Day is upon us, so it's time to talk about love, romance, and sex at the office. I could give you handy guidelines for what is and what is not appropriate at work, but how boring is that? Instead, here are five things so horrifying, you'll want to kiss your own co-workers (don't) for not doing these things.
1. Sexual Harassment on the Staten Island Ferry.
Assistant Captain Kristen Andoos complained that her boss, Captain Earle Ferenczy, made unwanted sexual advances towards her. The result? She was transferred and now claims her co-workers ignore her in retaliation. That's bad enough, but add into it, there are actual passengers on the boat and lack of communication comes with an increase in danger.
2. Naked Fire Fighting.
Those protective suits firefighters wear apparently, come off. All the way off. New firefighter Gordon Springs and three other new firefighters showed up at the fire station and got to know their co-workers way better than they expected to. The New York Post reports:
A black FDNY rookie expecting a warm welcome at his new firehouse was instead sexually hazed and humiliated by a band of naked firefighters, according to a shocking federal discrimination lawsuit.
It was the beginning of a series of horrific incidents meant to make the rookie's life so miserable he would quit, the suit alleges.
Racial and sexual harassment, all tied up in one.
3. Come Work in the Great Outdoors. Be Hunted by Your Co-Workers.
Taking a job in a national park can sound like paradise, but the female employees claiming it's quite the opposite. 18 employees at Yosemite found the environment toxic. The Department of Interior found that "male employees at the Grand Canyon preyed on female colleagues, demanded sex and retaliated against women who refused." The most shocking thing is that similar problems were identified 16 years ago, and yet sexual harassment continues.
4. Obvious Rules, Not So Obvious.
Startup culture can be "fun" and "exciting" but at Zenefits it went overboard. They had to officially ban sex at the office. Fortune reported that the company had to send out a memo telling employees to stop having sex, smoking, and drinking in the stairwells. The memo stated:
Cigarettes, plastic cups filled with beer, and several used condoms were found in the stairwell. Yes, you read that right. Do not use the stairwells to smoke, drink, eat, or have sex. Please respect building and company policy and use common sense ...
Apparently, some Zenefits employees need a refresher course on common sense. You'd think people that make HR software would understand at least a little of sexual harassment law.
5. Psychologists Also Need a Common Sense Refresher Course.
Some psychologists are recommending a new way to "relieve tension and stress" at work. These psychologists have obviously never been to a sexual harassment seminar because if they had they would know that this recommendation is fraught with legal danger for the business. What is it? Well, here's what news.com.au reported:
Psychologist and life coach Dr Cliff Arnall agreed. "I would expect a masturbation policy to result in more focus, less aggression, higher productivity, and more smiling," he told Metro. "Certainly taking a masturbation break for boredom or an escape would increase work focus."
If you take this advice, you just may "escape" your job permanently. Getting caught relaxing in this manner could result in claims of sexual harassment being made against you.
In spite of all these horror stories, may your Valentine's Day be quite tame while you're at the office. Have a cookie and when in doubt, don't.