Misandry in Workplace Sexual Harassment
So, a male senior medical officer (i.e. highly trained, highly experienced and in short supply) communicates some suggestive texts and comments to a female junior doctor who has responded in kind on a number of occasions. The female then feels uncomfortable about the communications and complains to her supervisor. When then confronted by the hospital authorities, the senior doctor admits his communications, accepts in retrospect that they had been inappropriate and he expresses understanding about the discomfort of the female. The hospital authorities then conduct an ‘investigation’ including an interview with him, concluding that he had breached the employer’s rules and engaged in unprofessional conduct. He disagrees that his conduct had been ‘unprofessional’ and he is so traumatized that he is hospitalized for a stress-induced illness. The employer then uses that as an excuse to sack him.
The female acknowledged she had participated in the flirtatious communications. There is no indication that she ever told him she was becoming uncomfortable or that she asked for the flirtatious interactions to stop or for him to stop such communications to her.
The female was not investigated for her communications even though they were probably unprofessional too. The female was not a child but a medical registrar, i.e. in her 20’s at least given the years of university training necessary before that stage. Such a highly intelligent woman in the feminist era of female empowerment is quite capable of making a polite request rather than running off to superiors to set processes of misandrist injustice on a friendly man.
A normal man with normal feelings who made mildly flirtatious communications after initial responses reasonably led him to believe these would be taken in good faith, is treated like some low life and as though his harmless communications outweighed the value of his work. Ridiculous.
This persecution of men has to stop. We encourage anyone brave enough to do so to speak up, write letters to the editor and participate in social media discussions demanding sense and fairness in the area of ‘workplace sexual harassment’.
Except in the case of clearly offensive or inappropriately contextual comments or behaviour (e.g. flirting whilst undertaking an operation) any finding that friendly or flirtatious banter amounted to wrongdoing should only be made if the accused continued communications after a complainant had clearly asked him or her to desist. Otherwise, it’s free speech.
This does not apply to those providing professional services to unwell or vulnerable patients or clients. Professional codes of conduct have long banned courtship behaviour or sexual interaction with clients.
Flirting with a work colleague, even a subordinate, is not violence or a crime and should not be treated as such. It is sometimes welcomed and it’s not unusual for successful long-term relationships and families to result from workplace romances, even between higher and lower ranked workers. Treating it as misconduct purely on the basis of the other person’s unexpressed subjective feelings is wrong. Flirting is sometimes initiated by a female colleague but in those cases it’s likely the employer will treat the matter more reasonably as should be the case for males so accused. She will be advised to discontinue the flirting rather than treated like an harasser or pervert.
If an employer wants an employee not to engage in particular types of communication in particular contexts and has a sound reason for making that rule, this should be made clear before disciplinary action becomes an option.
Every male employee exists at constant risk from the whim of some female colleague’s feelings and to misandrist rules and attitudes that employers are allowed, indeed required, to apply. It’s time to demand change and fair treatment of males.